Superlatives

superlatives

What Are Superlatives?

I climbed the tallest mountain.

I have the hottest drink.

This is the most important thing.

We use superlatives when we compare 3 or more things and want to express the highest or lowest degree of an adjective. You can recognize them when we see “-st” at the end of a word or when you see “most” or “least” before an adjective. There are a few rules we have to follow however when constructing this form, so let’s have a look.


How To Form A Superlative

There are two main ways to form superlatives.

Small Adjectives

For some small adjectives we can simply add “-est” to the end of the adjective to make our superlative.

Adjective

small

tall

cold

Superlative

smallest

tallest

coldest

Small Adjectives (Ending With A Single Consonant)

If the adjective ends with a single consonant (and with a single vowel before it) then we double that letter before adding “-est” to the end. However if there are two vowels before the final consent then the last letter is not doubled (e.g “cheap” -> “cheapest”)

Adjective

hot

big

thin

Superlative

hottest

biggest

thinnest

Small Adjectives (Ending In “e”)

If the adjective already ends in “e” then we just need to add “-st” to the end.

Adjective

loose

rare

rude

Superlative

loosest

rarest

rudest

Small Adjectives (Ending In “y”)

For these adjectives we change the “y” to and “i” before adding “-st” to the end.

Adjective

sunny

funny

curly

superlative

sunniest

funniest

curliest

 Long Adjectives

For longer adjectives we do something different. we don’t add “-est” to our endings. For these we create a short adjectival phrase by adding either “most” or “least” before our adjective.

Adjective

important

beautiful

amazing

Superlative

least / most important

least / most beautiful

least / most amazing

Irregular Superlatives

Just like with comparatives there are some words that don’t fit this pattern and instead have their own forms.

Adjective

good

bad

many

far

Superlative

best

worst

most

farthest


Comparatives vs superlatives

With comparatives and superlatives we are using comparisons in both but comparatives express that something is more than something else but not necessarily the most of something. You can see in this graph how we can use comparatives and superlatives to express different degrees. 

Here you can see the superlative form next to it’s comparative and original adjectival forms. Remember our irregular superlatives (from “good”, “bad” etc) and make a note of their comparative counterparts.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
big
small
loud
cheap
good
bad
nice
ugly
bigger
smaller
louder
cheaper
better
worse
nicer
uglier
biggest
smallest
loudest
cheapest
best
worst
nicest
ugliest