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Superlative Adjectives

The Kangchenjunga mountain in the Himalayas is a high mountain, standing at 8586 meters. An even higher mountain is the K2, standing at 8611 meters. However, the highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest, standing at 8848 meters!

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Superlative Adjectives

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The Kangchenjunga mountain in the Himalayas is a high mountain, standing at 8586 meters. An even higher mountain is the K2, standing at 8611 meters. However, the highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest, standing at 8848 meters!

When making comparisons between people or objects, we can use different adjectives to describe their state or quality. The adjective "highest" is an example of a superlative adjective. We use superlatives to express something as having more of a certain quality than the other things they are being compared to.

Define Superlative Adjectives

There are different types of adjectives depending on their use and purpose in a sentence. Today, we'll be learning about superlatives. Check out the definition of superlative adjectives below:

Superlative adjectives are used to describe a person or object that has more of a certain quality than another thing. They are used when comparing two or more things.

For example, the superlative adjective "biggest" is used to describe something that is bigger than any other thing it is being compared to.

Superlative Adjectives Shoes StudySmarterFig. 1 - Superlatives compare two or more things. The shoe on the right is the biggest of the three, whereas the shoe on the left is the smallest.

Superlative Adjectives Rules

To create the superlative form of an adjective, you typically add the suffix "est" to the root form of the adjective. The root form is the adjective's most basic form with nothing else added to it. For example, the adjective "cold" is the root form, and "coldest" is the superlative form.

The root form of an adjective is also known as a positive adjective. Another type of adjective worth mentioning is the comparative adjective, which is used to compare two things together. To create the comparative form, you typically add the suffix "er" to the root adjective. For example, the comparative form of "cold" is "colder." Altogether, the three forms look like this:

Positive adjective Comparative adjectiveSuperlative adjective
ColdColderColdest

Let's look a little closer at the rules for forming superlatives.

To create the superlative form, most adjectives that end with a consonant add the suffix "est" to the end of the root. For example:

Root adjective Superlative adjective
LongThe longest
ShortThe shortest
TallThe tallest
SmallThe smallest

If an adjective ends in a vowel followed by a consonant, the final consonants are doubled before the "est" is added. For example:

Root adjectiveSuperlative adjective
BigThe biggest
FlatThe flattest
SadThe saddest
HotThe hottest

If an adjective ends in "y," the suffix "iest" is added to the end. For example:

Root adjectiveSuperlative adjective
HappyThe happiest
DryThe driest
EasyThe easiest
AngryThe angriest

If an adjective already ends with an "e," only "st" is added to the end. For example:

Root adjectiveSuperlative adjective
LargeThe largest
SafeThe safest
BraveThe bravest
NiceThe nicest

Some adjectives add "the most" before the root. This is often the case for adjectives that contain two or more syllables, particularly ones ending in "ing" or "full." For example:

Root adjectiveSuperlative adjective
InterestingThe most interesting
HelpfulThe most helpful
BoringThe most boring
BeautifulThe most beautiful

Some superlative adjectives can either contain a suffix or "the most." For example:

Root adjectiveSuperlative adjective
CleverThe cleverest / the most clever
HealthyThe healthiest / the most healthy
NarrowThe narrowest / the most narrow
SureThe surest / the most sure

Exceptions to the Rule

As with many other word classes, there are some exceptions to the above rules. Superlative adjectives that do not follow these rules are known as irregular superlatives, as they do not fit the expected patterns of regular superlatives. Some examples include:

Root adjectiveIrregular superlative adjectives
GoodThe best (not "the goodest")
BadThe worst (not "the baddest")
FarThe farthest (not "the farest")
MuchThe most (not "the muchest")

Superlative Adjectives Best text StudySmarterFig. 2 - "Best" is the superlative form of "good." It is an irregular superlative.

Examples Of Superlative Adjectives

Some more examples of superlative adjectives are as follows:

Root AdjectiveSuperlative AdjectiveExample sentence
AcceptableThe most acceptable"It was the most acceptable option."
BusyThe busiest"Friday is the busiest day of the week."
CalmThe calmest"The sea is the calmest in the morning."
DirtyThe dirtiest"His white shoes were the dirtiest."
EntertainingThe most entertaining"That was the most entertaining book I've read."
FriendlyThe friendliest / the most friendly"She is the friendliest person I've met" / "She is the most friendly person I've met."
GreatThe greatest"Getting a degree was my greatest achievement."
HighThe highest"The highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest."
InterestingThe most interesting"English Language is the most interesting subject at school."
JealousThe most jealous"He was the most jealous person in the room."
KindThe kindest"She had the kindest smile."
LonelyThe loneliest / the most lonely"They felt the loneliest when with others" / "They felt the most lonely when with others."
MagnificentThe most magnificent"I saw the most magnificent sunset."
NervousThe most nervous"Before my exam, I was the most nervous I had ever been."
OriginalThe most original"It was his most original piece of work to date."
PoliteThe politest / the most politeThey were the politest guests who stayed in the hotel" / "They were the most polite guests who stayed in the hotel."
QuietThe quietest"The bathroom is the quietest room in the house."
RudeThe rudest"Tell me about the rudest person you've met."
SneakyThe sneakiest / the most sneaky"His brother was the sneakiest person in the family" / "HIs brother was the most sneaky person in the family."
TalentedThe most talented"The teacher gave a gift to the most talented student."
UniqueThe most unique"Show me your most unique skill."
VitalThe most vital"Flour is the most vital ingredient."
WetThe wettestMawsynram, in Northeastern India, is the wettest place on Earth."
YoungThe youngest"My youngest sister wants to be a nurse."

Superlative Adjectives List

Here is a list of superlative adjectives:

  • The most attractive

  • The bravest

  • The coziest

  • The most distant

  • The easiest

  • The fakest / the most fake

  • The greediest

  • The hungriest / the most hungry

  • The most intriguing

  • The most joyful

  • The most knowledgeable

  • The most lovable

  • The meanest

  • The most naive

  • The most open

  • The proudest

  • The quirkiest

  • The most reliable

  • The sincerest / the most sincere

  • The tastiest

  • The most understanding

  • The most vicious

  • The weirdest

  • The most youthful

Superlative Adjective Sentences

When superlative adjectives are used in a sentence, the other people or objects they are being compared to do not always need to be directly stated. For example:

"Sarah's house was the nicest in the neighborhood."

This sentence means that Sarah's house was the nicest of all the other houses in the neighborhood. This does not need to be explicitly stated, as it is implied that Sarah's house is being compared to all the others in the neighborhood.

Superlative Adjectives - Key takeaways

  • Superlative adjectives are used to describe a person or object that has more of a certain quality than another thing. They are used when comparing more than two things.
  • Some adjectives add the suffixes "est/iest/st" to the end to create the superlative form.
  • Some adjectives add "the most" to the beginning to create the superlative form. This usually happens with adjectives that end in "ing" or "full."
  • Some adjectives do not follow the regular rules for creating superlatives. These are known as irregular superlatives.
  • When superlative adjectives are used in a sentence, the other people or objects they are being compared to do not always need to be directly stated.

Frequently Asked Questions about Superlative Adjectives

A superlative adjective is used to describe a person/object that has more of a certain quality than other things.

Superlative adjectives are used to compare more than two things. For example, "The whole class baked cakes, but the teacher baked the tastiest cake." We can imply that the teacher's cake was the tastiest out of all of the other cakes baked by the class.

The rules for making superlative adjectives are:


  • Most adjectives that end with a consonant add the suffix "est" to the end of the root.

  • If an adjective ends in a vowel and then a consonant, the final consonants are doubled before the "est" is added.

  • If an adjective ends in "y," the suffix "iest" is added to the end.

  • If an adjective already ends with an "e," just "st" is added to the end.

  • Some adjectives add "most" before the root. This is usually the case for adjectives ending in "ing" or "full" or that have more than two syllables. 

  • Some superlative adjectives can either contain a suffix or "most." 

If an adjective ends in est/st/iest, it is probably a superlative! Or, if it starts with "the most," it is probably a superlative.

An example of a superlative adjective is "loudest," e.g., "he was the loudest person in the room." 

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

When creating the superlative form, most adjectives that end with a consonant add what to the end?

If an adjective ends in "y," which suffix is added to the end to create the superlative form?

If an adjective ends with an "e," which suffix is used to create the superlative form?

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