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English Adjectives

Superlative Adjectives

Overview | Order | Comparative | Possessive | Superlative

The superlative is used to say what thing, person, or idea has the most of a particular quality within a group or of its kind.

Superlative adjectives normally come before any other adjectives.

Attribution Some rights reserved by Ant Jackson
 Some rights reserved by Bart vanDorp
Snowdon is not the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis is.
Mount Snowdon is 3,559 feet high. Ben Nevis is 4,408 feet high.

 

Forming the superlative

Form Rule For example
Words of one syllable ending in 'e'.
Add -st to the end of the word.

wide - widest

The Amazon River is the widest river in the world.
Words of one syllable, with one vowel and one consonant at the end. Double the consonant and add -est to the end of the word.

big - biggest

In 2010 a dog called Giant George was given the title of the biggest dog in the world.
Words of one syllable, with more than one vowel or more than one consonant at the end. Add - est to the end of the word. high - highest
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the word. (But it isn't the tallest mountain in the world.)
Words of two syllables, ending in 'y'. Change 'y' to 'i', and add -est to the end of the word. happy - happiest
In 2013 Australia was named the happiest country in the world.
Words of two syllables or more, not ending in 'y'. Place 'the most' before the adjective. beautiful - the most beautiful
Some people say that the Maldives have the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Don't forget that some adjectives are irregular:-

  • 'good' becomes 'the best'
  • 'bad' becomes 'the worst'
  • 'far' becomes 'the furthest'

For example:

  • "Jill is the best student in the class ."
  • "Jack is the worst student in the class."
  • "In our solar system the planet Pluto is the furthest planet from the Sun."

!Note - Have you noticed that these superlatives are preceded by 'the'.

For example:

  • "The Rio de la Plata river, on the southeast coastline of South America, is the widest river in the world."
  • According to the List of World records Carol Yager (1960-1994), from Michigan, is the fattest person ever to live, weighing 725 kg (1,600 lb).
  • "Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world."
  • "I think that Castle Combe is the prettiest village in England."
  • "Arguably, Rome is the most beautiful city in the world."

You can find a list of common irregular adjectives here.

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