Comparatives and Superlatives - Lesson #7

Comparatives and superlatives are used to compare.

Comparatives compare 2 people, places, or things.

Superlatives are used for more than 2 people, places, or things

In this lesson, we will cover everything that you need to know about superlatives. We can do this in one lesson because superlatives are much less complicated than comparatives. (By the way, the last sentence is an example of a comparative. Did you notice?)

Things to Know about Superlatives

1. We use superlatives to compare one noun to a group of other nouns. We use it to show that the subject is at the upper or limit of some quality.
  • She is the tallest student in the class.
  • The blue whale is the largest animal in the world.
  • Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.
  • London is the most expensive city that I have visited.
  • He is the most interesting person that I have met.
2. We form superlative adjectives by adding "-est" to the end of short adjectives.
  • He is the fastest runner in the world.
  • They are the greatest baseball players in our country.
  • He was the craziest person at the party.
For long adjectives, we use "most/least + adjective"
  • That is the most expensive shirt in the store.
  • He is the least serious person that I know.
  • What is the most interesting place that you have been to?
3. We almost always use "the + superlative".
  • He is the best player on our team.
  • We walked through the biggest museum in the world.
4. We can use superlatives in different parts of a sentence.
  • She is the smartest student in the class.
  • The smartest student in the class is James.
  • I didn't know that James was the smartest student in the class.
  • Is James the smartest student in the class?
5. After superlatives, we normally use "in" with places.
  • This is the hottest place in the world.
  • We had the most expensive room in the hotel.
  • He is the best baseball player in the country.
  • Samsung is the biggest and most powerful company in Korea.
  • What is the longest river in the world?
  • What is the best Indian restaurant in this area?
6. We also use "in" for organizations and groups of people.
  • She is the tallest student in the class.
  • He is the best speaker in the company.
  • That company is the fastest growing company in the industry.
7. We use "of" for a period of time.
  • What is the happiest moment of your life?
  • That was the best vacation of my childhood.
  • It was the best-selling product of 2015.
  • Today is the hottest day of the year.
  • She is the greatest singer of all time.
8. We often use superlatives with the present perfect.
  • It is the best movie that I have ever seen?
  • What is the best hotel that you have ever stayed at?
  • What is the coolest thing that you have ever seen?
  • This is the most delicious steak that I have ever had.
  • I think this might be the best idea that I have ever had.
You can make these sentences in two ways.
  • Thailand is the most beautiful country that I have ever been.
  • The most beautiful country that I have ever been is Thailand.
  • Mark is the smartest person that I have ever met.
  • The smartest person that I have ever met is Mark.
9. We have already talked about how to form superlatives, but some do not follow the regular rules. Here are the irregular superlative adjectives.

funmore funmost/least fun
  • He is the best student.
  • This is the best chocolate that I have ever tried.
  • It was the worst movie that I have ever seen.
  • This is the worst day of my life.
  • This is the furthest that I have ever walked in one day.
  • This is the most fun that I have had.
If the last letter of an adjective is "y", then we change "y" to "-iest".

  • This is the happiest day of my life.
  • May is always the busiest month of the year.
  • That was the craziest movie that I have ever seen.
Just like with comparatives, some 2-syllable words can change in multiple ways. Here are just a few examples.

shallowshallower / more shallowshallowest / most shallow
quietquieter / less quietquietest / least quiet

Superlatives are a crucial English grammar point. You must be able to use these well to write or speak English. Make sure you study these hard and practice using them when you study English and try to use them when speaking English.