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Superlative Adjectives

Superlative Adjectives

 

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Superlative Adjectives

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn how to form and use superlative adjectives.  We will learn the rules of how to form the superlative forms of two types of adjectives and when to use them. We will learn common exceptions to these rules.


In the past, we have learned many adjectives, short adjectives of one or two syllables, and longer adjectives of three syllables or more.

Some examples of short adjectives are "tall, short, fast," and "slow". To form the superlative of these short adjectives, we simply add "est" to the end of the word and place the word "the" before it: "tall -> the tallest, short-> the shortest, fast-> the fastest," and "slow -> the slowest".

To form the superlative form of short adjectives ending in a consonant which follows a vowel, we double the vowel and add "est": "big -> the biggest", "thin -> the thinnest".

Some two-syllable adjectives are slightly more complicated, but the concept is the same. To form the superlative of "pretty, easy, lazy," and other adjectives which end with a consonant followed by "y", we change the "y" to "i" and add "est": "pretty -> the prettiest", "easy -> the easiest", and "lazy-> the laziest".

Some examples of long adjectives are "beautiful, delicious, disgusting," and "difficult". Each of these adjectives has three syllables. To form the superlative form of long adjectives and some short adjectives, we put the words "the most" before the adjective: "beautiful -> the most beautiful", "delicious -> the most delicious," "disgusting -> the most disgusting," and "difficult -> the most difficult".  

Some exceptions are words that end with "ed", like "rested" or "tired". Although these a two-syllable words, we say "the most rested" and "the most tired" for their superlative forms.

Some exceptions to all these rules are the superlative forms of "good" and "bad". The superlative form of "good" is "the best". The superlative form of "bad" is "the worst".

When we use the superlative adjective to compare one thing or person to two or more others, we use the word "of" in the comparison. For example, we might say "David is the tallest of all the men inhis office." or "Jennifer is the smallest of all the women she knows." We might say "Our car is the dirtiest  car in the neighborhood." or "Their car is the cleanest car on the street."  

Now that we know how to form superlative adjectives, let us listen to the dialog.

Jennifer: Oh David, you cannot wear that shirt to the party.

David: Why not? It is my best shirt.

Jennifer: It is the ugliest and oldest shirt you own!

David: But I am the most comfortable in my oldest shirt.

Jennifer:  Oh David, please don’t wear your worst shirt to the party.

David: Okay, I will wear a different shirt.

Jennifer:  Thank you. I will be the happiest person at the party.

Jennifer starts the conversation by saying "Oh David, you cannot wear that shirt to the party.". She could also have said "You should not wear that shirt to the party.", or "Please do not wear that shirt to the party.".

David asks "Why not?" It is my best shirt.".We notice that he uses the word "best" which is the superlative form of the adjective "good". Although we usually use "the" before the superlative adjectives, any possessive is fine as well. We can also say "It is David's best shirt." or "It is his best shirt.".

Jennifer says "It is the ugliest and oldest shirt you own!" We see that Jennifer uses the superlative forms of the adjectives "ugly" and "old". She does not need to say "It is the ugliest and it is the oldest shirt you own." because part of the sentence would repeated, so the repetitive parts can be discarded. She could also have said "It is your oldest and ugliest shirt!".

David says "But I am the most comfortable in my oldest shirt.". David uses the superlative form of the long adjective "comfortable". And again, he uses the superlative form of the short adjective "old". AS explained previously, although we usually use the article "the" before superlative adjectives, we can use possessives as well. We can say "it is his oldest shirt." or "It is David's oldest shirt.".

Jennifer says "Oh, David, please do not wear your worst shirt to the party.". In this sentence, we see that Jennifer uses the superlative form of the adjective "bad", which is "worst".  Again, we see that Jennifer has substituted a possessive adjective for the article "the".  She could have said "Oh David, that is the worst shirt you own." or "That is the worst of all your shirts." We can say "That is David's worst shirt." or "That is the worst shirt David owns.".

David acquiesces by saying "Okay, I will wear a different shirt." and Jennifer says "Thank you. I will be the happiest person at the party.". We see that Jennifer uses the superlative form of the adjective "happy.". We could say "Jennifer will be the happiest person at the party." or "Jennifer will be the happiest of all the people at the party.".

Now that you know how superlative adjectives are used, let us listen to the dialog again. Listen to short and long adjectives as they are made superlative.

Jennifer: Oh David, you cannot wear that shirt to the party.

David: Why not? It is my best shirt.

Jennifer: It is the ugliest and oldest shirt you own!

David: But I am the most comfortable in my oldest shirt.

Jennifer:  Oh David, please don’t wear your worst shirt to the party.

David: Okay, I will wear a different shirt.

Jennifer:  Thank you. I will be the happiest person at the party.

Great! You doubled the power of your adjectives when you learned the comparative forms, and now you have added more power to them! Enjoy using the superlative adjectives! "Be the best you can be!"