“Mom’s apple pie is the best dessert at the party.”

The word best in the above sentence is an adjective that describes the word dessert. A writer could have said that mom’s apple pie is a good dessert or that her pie is better than Aunt Susie’s. Instead, by using a special type of adjective, they let the readers know that mom’s apple pie surpassed all desserts in the group. This special type of adjective is called a superlative adjective.

What is a Superlative Adjective?

A superlative adjective is used to compare three or more objects, people, or places. Using the superlative form takes a comparison to the highest degree possible. As shown in the beginning sentence example, the adjective best is a superlative adjective that compares three or more desserts. You can’t get better than best!

How to Create a Superlative Adjective

The rules for creating a superlative adjective are similar to those used when making comparative adjectives. Here they are:

For a one-syllable word simply add the suffix –est to the word. Often times it is necessary to double the final consonant.

Superlative Adjective Example: Long-longest

Superlative Adjective Example: Big – Biggest

If the one syllable word ends with an “e” you only need to add an -st. An example is:

Superlative Adjective Example: Fine-finest

If a two-syllable word ends with a “y” then change the “y” to “I” and add -est.

Superlative Adjective Example: Pretty – prettiest

Words that contain two or three syllables are preceded by the words most or least. An example would be most handsome or least perfect.

Examples of Superlative Adjectives

Perhaps the best way to get a clear idea of a superlative adjective is to show examples of regular adjectives and their comparative and superlative forms. Below is a list of several common adjectives and their degrees of comparison.

Regular Comparative Superlative
sweet sweeter sweetest
angry angrier angriest
bright brighter brightest
calm calmer calmest
cold colder coldest
cool cooler coolest
curly curlier curliest
early earlier earliest
rich richer richest
lovely lovelier loveliest
smart smarter smartest
simple simpler simplest
famous more famous most famous
immense more immense most immense
long longer longest
perfect more perfect most perfect
quick quicker quickest
thin thinner thinnest

Sentence examples containing a superlative adjective:What is a Superlative Adjective?

Superlative Adjective Example: That is the flimsiest excuse I’ve ever heard.
Superlative Adjective Example: Katie wore the prettiest dress she owned.
Superlative Adjective Example: Snow white was the fairest maiden of them all.
Superlative Adjective Example: Aunt Jane was the least upset when the spilled coffee stained her tablecloth.
Superlative Adjective Example: Rebecca was the most talented singer in the competition.
Superlative Adjective Example: John is the smartest boy in his class.
Superlative Adjective Examples

Superlative Adjective Irregular Forms

There are some adjectives that have irregular forms meaning that the superlative can’t be formed by adding the suffix -est or by using the words most or least. Here are some examples:

Superlative Adjective Example: Good–the best

Superlative Adjective Example: Little–the least

Superlative Adjective Example: Add–the worst

Superlative Adjective Example: Far– the furthest

Understanding the proper use of a superlative adjective isn’t difficult once you understand the rules. Remember superlatives are used to compare three or more objects, people, or places and adding the suffix -est creates them. If the regular adjective is two or three syllables then precede it with the words most or least. You’ll have to memorize a few irregular forms but if you keep these simple rules in mind you can add a new dimension to your writing with a superlative adjective.

Use the resources from K12Reader to teach your students about superlatives and other literary devices to incorporate into their writing!