“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. I 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 the special type of adjective best I was able to 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!
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. Here is a list of several common adjectives and their degrees of comparison.
|famous||more famous||most famous|
|immense||more immense||most immense|
|perfect||more perfect||most perfect|
Sentence examples containing a superlative adjective:
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.