Quick English Lesson: Superlative Adjectives
The superlative is a type of adjective. An adjective describes a noun and gives us more information about whatever the noun is, be it a person, an object, or something more abstract. A superlative adjective essentially compares three or more nouns, and describes the noun which has more of a specific quality than any other noun.
hot – an adjective
hotter – a comparative adjective; one thing is more hot than another thing
hottest – a superlative adjective; this thing is more hot than anything else
Example: “This is the hottest place I have ever been.”
There are a few simple rules that can help you to create superlative adjectives. If you have an adjective, you can follow these steps:
One syllable adjectives: add ‘-est’ to the end of the word.
Great becomes greatest
Hot becomes hottest (sometimes you will need to double the final consonant)
One syllable adjectives ending in ‘e’: add ‘-st’ to the end of the word.
Large becomes largest
Rare becomes rarest
Two syllable adjectives ending in ‘y’: replace the ‘-y’ with ‘-iest’
Lazy becomes laziest
Busy becomes busiest
Other adjectives with two or more syllables: do not change these adjectives, but use ‘most’ or ‘least’ in front of them.
Helpful becomes most helpful
Electric becomes least electric
The use of superlatives isn’t always literal. Superlative are often used to emphasize something, sometimes for dramatic or comic effect. So when someone watches the latest YouTube video of cute kittens and says: “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen!” it isn’t necessarily true - unless they are the cutest kittens ever, of course.
Is this the cutest kitten you have seen?
Why not try and fill in the blanks in these sentences and practice your use of superlatives. You can find the answers here.
- Usain Bolt is the ______ man on earth. (fast)
- That was the ______ thing I’ve ever seen. (crazy)
- I think their second album is the ______. (interesting)
- This new toothpaste will make your teeth the ______ out of everybody. (white)
- The ______ person alive is 116 years old. (old)