Superlatives in English

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In grammar, the superlative is the form of an adverb or adjective that of the adverb or adjective being used that is greater than any other possible degree of the given descriptor. English superlatives are typically formed with the suffix -est (e.g. healthiest, weakest) or the word most (most recent, most interesting). One preposition, near, also has a superlative form, as in Find the restaurant nearest your house.
Example of superlative: "She is [the] most beautiful [of all the women here tonight]."

Simply put the word 'superlative' is defined as

  • (a noun) an exaggerated mode of expression (usually of praise): "the critics lavished superlatives on it";
  • (an adjective) the greatest: the highest in quality;
  • the superlative form of an adjective: "best" is the superlative form of "good", "most" when used together with an adjective or adverb.


Forming superlatives

The rules to form comparatives and superlatives:

1. One syllable adjective ending in a silent 'e' — nice

  • Comparative — add 'r' — nicer
  • Superlative — add 'st' — nicest

2. One syllable adjective ending in one vowel and one consonant — big

  • Comparative — the consonant is doubled and 'er' is added —bigger
  • Superlative — the consonant is doubled and 'est' is added—biggest

3. One syllable adjective ending in more than one consonant or more than a vowel — high, cheap

  • Comparative — 'er' is added — higher, cheaper
  • Superlative — 'est is added — highest, cheapest

4. A two syllable adjective ending in 'y' — happy

  • Comparative — 'y' becomes 'i' and 'er' is added — happier
  • Superlative — 'y' becomes 'i' and 'est' is added — happiest

5. Tow syllable or more adjectives without 'y' at the end exciting

  • Comparative more + the adjective + than more exciting than
  • Superlative more + the adjective + than the most exciting


  • The Nile River is longer and more famous than the Thames.
  • Egypt is much hotter than Sweden.
  • Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  • This is one of the most exciting films I have ever seen.


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To learn more about superlatives in English:

English Grammar - Superlative Adjectives - biggest, best, most beautiful, etc.
English Grammar - Superlative Adjectives (most, best, etc.)