Superlative Adjectives

ALULA staff, Updated on June 10, 2024

  • Superlative adjectives describe the highest degree of quality among three or more items.
  • We form superlative adjectives in different ways depending on the number of syllables.
  • Use "the" before superlative adjectives.

Superlative adjectives help us show the highest degree of a quality among three or more things. Let's learn how to form and use them.

Difference between a comparative adjective and a superlative adjective

Forming Superlative Adjectives

We form superlative adjectives based on the number of syllables in the adjective. Here are the rules:

Rule 1: For one-syllable adjectives, add -est.

Examples: quick → quickest, short → shortest, large → largest

Rule 2: For one-syllable adjectives ending in a vowel + consonant, double the last letter and add -est.

Examples: thin → thinnest, big → biggest

Rule 3: For adjectives with two syllables not ending in -y, or adjectives with three or more syllables, add "most" before the adjective.

Examples: thoughtful → most thoughtful, important → most important

Rule 4: For two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, change the -y to -i and add -est.

Examples: busy → busiest, happy → happiest

Some adjectives are irregular and don't follow these rules. Here are a few:

Good → best, bad → worst, far → farthest/furthest

Rules for forming a superlative adjective

Basic Grammar of Superlative Adjectives

Grammar Rule: Subject + be verb + "the" + superlative adjective + (optional object).

Note that you should place "the" in front of a superlative adjective.


  • She is the smartest student in the class.

    Subject ("She") + be verb ("is") + the + superlative adjective ("smartest") + object ("student in the class").

  • This is the most interesting book I have ever read.

    Subject ("This") + be verb ("is") + the + superlative adjective ("most interesting") + object ("book I have ever read").

Superlative adjectives help us describe the highest degree of a quality among three or more items. Practice using these rules to improve your English skills!

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