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Formation of Superlative Adjectives

As with comparative adjectives, there are two ways to form a superlative adjective:

  • short adjectives: add "-est"
  • long adjectives: use "most"

We also usually add 'the' at the beginning.

Short adjectives
1-syllable adjectives old, fast
2-syllable adjectives ending in -y happy, easy
Normal rule: add "-est" old → the oldest
Variation: if the adjective ends in -e, just add -st late → the latest
Variation: if the adjective ends in consonant, vowel, consonant, double the last consonant big → the biggest
Variation: if the adjective ends in -y, change the y to i happy → the happiest
Long adjectives
2-syllable adjectives not ending in -y modern, pleasant
all adjectives of 3 or more syllables expensive, intellectual
Normal rule: use "most" modern → the most modern
expensive → the most expensive
With some 2-syllable adjectives, we can use '-est' or 'most':
  • quiet → the quietest/most quiet
  • clever → the cleverest/most clever
  • narrow → the narrowest/most narrow
  • simple → the simplest/most simple

Exception
The following adjectives have irregular forms:

  • good → the best
  • bad → the worst
  • far → the farthest/furthest

Use of Superlative Adjectives »

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