What Are Superlative Adjectives? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

When you want to describe the absolute best or worst of something, you use superlative adjectives. In this lesson, we'll learn how to use superlative adjectives and look at some examples.

The Absolute Best

Think of the yummiest food you've ever eaten, the tallest building you've ever seen and your most favorite movie of all time. Without knowing it, you've just had to compare all the foods you've ever eaten and all the buildings and movies you have ever seen to figure out the absolute biggest or best! And we have used superlative adjectives to describe them. Before we discuss these superlative adjectives further, let's review.

What is an Adjective?

Let's start from the beginning. An adjective is a word that describes a noun. An adjective can tell the color, shape, number, feeling, texture, and other descriptions of what a person, place, or object is like. Adjectives help us to visualize objects by giving us more information about them.

  • She could see the beautiful, blooming tree outside her closed window.

In this sentence, beautiful and blooming are adjectives that describe the noun, tree, while closed is an adjective that describes the noun, window.

In the example above, we used adjectives to describe a noun. Adjectives can also be used to compare nouns. Comparative adjectives are used when comparing two things, while superlative adjectives are used to compare three or more things. In this lesson, we are going to look at superlative adjectives and the rules you need in order to use them properly.

Superlative Adjectives

We use superlative adjectives to compare three or more things. When you describe something as not just big, but the biggest of the group, or something as the most delicious or yummiest thing you have tasted, you are using superlatives. Think of them as the utmost degree of something.

  • Skydiving was the most incredible experience.

Most incredible describes how skydiving is the utmost degree of exhilarating activities, comparing more than just two activities.

In the image with the Buddha statue, we use the superlative adjective tallest because the image is comparing three or more things.

The Buddha statue is the tallest.
Statues

Let's review the rules for making an adjective superlative and look at some more examples.

Rules for Superlative Adjectives

1. Add ''est'' to one syllable adjectives.

  • It was the coldest day of the year.

The adjective is cold. By adding ''est,'' we have made it the superlative adjective coldest, which is comparing that day to all the other days of the year.

2. When an adjective ends with an ''e,'' we just add ''st,'' since it already has the ''e'' of the ''est'' and it wouldn't make sense to have ''eest''.

  • The lion is the fiercest animal in the forest.

3. When an adjective has two or more syllables, use most or least in front of the adjective.

  • The most difficult homework was the history paper.

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