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How to form superlative adjectives: plus 100 common superlatives list

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romeo

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Definition of superlative adjectives, and how to form them. Includes a useful list of 100 common superlatives, plus example sentences.

What is a superlative?

The superlative is used to show that someone or something has more of a particular quality than any other of their kind.

Superlatives are usually formed by adding the suffix -est to the end of the adjective, and using the before it (e.g. the fastest), or by adding the most before the adjective (e.g. the most delicious, the most expensive).

  • The cheetah is the fastest land animal.
  • It was the most delicious meal I’d ever eaten.
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi has just become the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

How to form the superlative

Here are some tips to help you form the superlative with different adjectives.

Adjectives with one syllable

For adjectives with one syllable, we usually form the superlative by adding -est.

For example,

  • It was the coldest winter in living memory.
  • The coldest place on earth is in Antarctica.

If the adjective ends with a single vowel letter, followed by a single consonant, we double the consonant.

For example,

  • That summer was the hottest on record.
  • The Sahara Desert and the Gobi Desert are two of the hottest places on earth.
  • London is the biggest city in England.
  • What's the saddest movie you've ever watched?

If the adjective ends with -e, this is removed, and -est is added.

For example,

  • nice/nicest - She was the nicest girl in my class.
  • blue/bluest - That summer’s day, the sky was the bluest blue we’d ever seen.
  • wise/wisest - My grandmother is the wisest person I know.

If the adjective ends with a consonant followed by -y, the -y is replaced by -i and -est is added.

For example, dry/driest

  • The Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world.

Adjectives with two syllables

As with one-syllable adjectives, if the adjective ends with a consonant followed by -y, the -y is replaced by -i and -est is added.

For example,

  • happy/happiest – On the day I married my husband I was the happiest woman in the world.
  • messy/messiest – Our teenage son has the messiest bedroom you’ve ever seen.
  • easy-easiest - That was the easiest English exam ever!

Adjectives with two or more syllables not ending in -y

Place the most before the adjective.

For example:

  • the most complicated
  • the most beatiful
  • the most inspiring
  • the most pointless
  • She was the most attractive woman in the room.
  • Delhi is one of the most crowded cities in the world.

Examples of irregular superlatives

Adjective/Superlative

  • good – best
  • bad- worst
  • little – least
  • far – furthest/farthest

Note: We never use most and –est together.

For example, we wouldn’t say or write, the most easiest, the most funniest, the most kindest, or the most hungriest.

We would just say the easiest, the funniest, the kindest, and the hungriest.

100 common English superlatives

Now that we've looked at how to form the superlative, here's a list of 100 frequently-used examples:

  • the best
  • the biggest
  • the bluest
  • the bravest
  • the busiest
  • the cleverest
  • the coldest
  • the driest
  • the easiest
  • the fastest
  • the fattest
  • the funniest
  • the gentlest
  • the happiest
  • the healthiest
  • the highest
  • the hottest
  • the kindest
  • the largest
  • the latest
  • the longest
  • the loudest
  • the luckiest
  • the meanest
  • the nicest
  • the oldest
  • the prettiest
  • the quickest
  • the quietest
  • the richest
  • the saddest
  • the safest
  • the shortest
  • the simplest
  • the smallest
  • the smartest
  • the strangest
  • the strongest
  • the tallest
  • the thinnest
  • the weakest
  • the wettest
  • the wisest
  • the worst
  • the youngest
  • the most admirable
  • the most athletic
  • the most attractive
  • the most amusing
  • the most awesome
  • the most beautiful
  • the most boring
  • the most careful
  • the most caring
  • the most charming
  • the most clever
  • the most comfortable
  • the most complicated
  • the most crowded
  • the most daring
  • the most dependable
  • the most difficult
  • the most economical
  • the most efficient
  • the most embarrassing
  • the most exciting
  • the most expensive
  • the most extraordinary
  • the most extroverted
  • the most famous
  • the most forgetful
  • the most fragrant
  • the most funny
  • the most generous
  • the most gentle
  • the most graceful
  • the most grateful
  • the most important
  • the most inspirational
  • the most intelligent
  • the most interesting
  • the most introverted
  • the most irritating
  • the most modern
  • the most musical
  • the most organized
  • the most original
  • the most peaceful
  • the most photogenic
  • the most pleasant
  • the most popular
  • the most talented
  • the most talkative
  • the most thoughtful
  • the most trustworthy
  • the most unforgettable
  • the most valuable

And not forgetting these irregular superlatives...

  • the best

You're the best mother in the world!

  • the worst

I've had the worst day ever.

  • the farthest/furthest

The furthest point from land is known as Point Nemo.

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