Superlatives: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelly Merrell

Shelly has a Master's of Education. Most recent professional experience is an educational diagnostician. Prior, she taught for 8 years.

Big, little, great, and worst are all words you probably know and use. These words describe something and give details. Today, we are going to learn about the best describing words--superlatives!

What are Superlatives?

Which of these sentences sounds better?

-That is the most cute horse I've ever seen!

-That is the cutest horse I've ever seen!

The second one flows better and sounds smoother.

A superlative adjective compares three or more nouns. It shows the highest degree or the most quality. In the sentences, I am comparing that horse to all the horses I've ever seen, so there are more than three horses being compared. The superlative we used was cutest. That horse has the most cuteness of all the horses I've ever seen.

How do Superlatives Work?

To make a superlative, we add the ending -est to an adjective with one syllable to show comparison of three or more things.

-George is the nicest person I've ever met.

In this sentence, I compared George to all the people I've ever met.

-The tallest building in New York is the Empire State Building.

In this sentence, all the buildings in New York City were compared.

When comparing three or more things with an adjective that has two or more syllables, we use the word most. For example, 'That shoe is the most popular among kids.' We added the word most because it doesn't sound smooth to say 'That shoe is the popularest among kids.'

Adjective Review

To make it easier to understand superlatives, let's quickly review adjectives. An adjective is a word that describes a noun. Adjectives give descriptions by telling how many, what color, what size, or which one.

When we use a one-syllable adjective to compare only two nouns, we add the ending -er. Tall + -er becomes taller, and soft + -er becomes softer. It sounds okay to say 'The brown jacket is more soft than the black jacket.' But, it sounds better to say 'The brown jacket is softer than the black jacket.'

When we have an adjective comparing two nouns that has more than one syllable, we use the word more. For example: Rome is more beautiful than Hawaii. It doesn't sound right to say 'Rome is beautifuler than Hawaii.'

Irregular Words

The English language always has rule breakers. When making comparisons, use these irregular words carefully:

Good/ better /best

Well/ better /best

Bad/ worse /worst

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