When and How to Use Superlative Degree?

·  A Superlative degree expresses the supreme or extreme form of an Adjective. It is meant to indicate a particular characteristic or property of one thing in comparison to many other things.

· It denotes the highest degree of intensity in terms of quality or quantity of a thing in comparison to more than one thing.

· Its usage clearly states that a particular quality thing is superior and surpasses/ exceeds all other things in terms of that quality or characteristic or feature

Example:

John is the strongest boy in his class. (Best among his peers)

Einstein was the most intelligent scientist known. (Best among all its counterparts)

River Nile is the deepest river in the world. (Best in the world)

Mt. Everest is the highest mountain peak in the world. (Best in the world)

Pacific Ocean is the largest water body on Earth(Best in the world)

Katie is the best dancer in the troupe. ( Best performer in a group)


Thus the Superlative form is used to describe a person, place or thing within a larger group of people, places and things or to state that an action is performed to the highest degree within a group of actions.

It is usually used while referring to three or more things.

· There are basically two ways in which it can be done

1. Short adjectives use –est .

2. Long adjectives make use of the word ‘most ‘.


· Usually Superlative degrees are specified using the article ‘the’.

1.  In case of short adjectives, following methods are used.


Model 1: Single Syllable Adjective, add –est .

Positive

Old

Fast

Superlative  

Oldest  

Fastest  


Model 2: If the short adjective ends in ‘e’ add ‘st’.

Positive

Late

Brave

Superlative

Latest

Bravest


Model 3: If it ends in consonant and has a vowel and a consonant, double the last consonant:

Positive

Big

Hot

Thin

Superlative

Biggest

Hotter

Thinner


2. In case of long adjectives, use ‘most’

Model 1: Two syllable adjectives not ending in ‘y’

Positive

Modern

Pleasant

Superlative

Most Modern

Most Pleasant


Model 2: All adjectives of 3 or more syllables.

Positive

Expensive

Intellectual

Superlative

Most Expensive

Most Intellectual


There are however exceptions to the rule:

Positive

Good

Bad

Far

Superlative

Best

Worst

Furthest

Since, Superlatives adjectives are used to denote one thing in a group of three or more things, article ‘the’ is used before it.

For e.g. Chennai Super Kings is the best IPL scorer this year.

However, when the same thing is compared with itself ‘the’ word is omitted.

For e.g. I am most patient when I am with my son.

· References from Literature

e.g.: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

 

· Please Note that the Superlative Degree of the Adjective does not really state that a quality is present to the extreme degree but compares it to  three or more in a group to reach to a particular conclusion.

Example:

e.g.: Suzie is the smartest in her class but Eve is smarter.





English Grammar and Composition

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