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What Is a Superlative Adjective?

What Is a Superlative Adjective?

There are two types of adjectives that are used when comparing two or more nouns. These are comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives.


What Is an Adjective?

The job of an adjective is to give more information about a noun. A noun is a person, object, animal, or idea. An adjective will describe the noun by giving its size, composition, color, age, shape, weight, etc. Adjectives can be a single word or a group of words and can also be used with a verb, like “is” or “was.” Most adjectives come before the noun they modify.

Examples of adjectives before nouns include: “I saw a really big dog.” or “That crazy cat is running around in circles.” Examples of adjectives used with verbs are: “My friend is adorable.” and “That house is huge.” Understanding the function of an adjective helps to answer the question, “What is a superlative adjective?”

What Is a Comparative Adjective

A comparative adjective is used when comparing two nouns. One noun will be better, bigger, or will have more of something than the other. Examples include: “The red dress is more expensive than the blue one.” and “Your car is faster than mine.” When using the word “than” it will come after the comparative adjective, like: “Autumn is colder than summer.”

The rules for making adjectives into comparative adjectives depend on the number of syllables and the spelling of the word. They are as follows:

  • One syllable – add “er”, like warm to warmer, high to higher. Sometimes the final consonant must be doubled like fat to fatter.
  • One syllable that ends with an “e” – add “r” only, like fine to finer or cute to cuter.
  • Two syllables – use the words “more” or “less” before the word, like difficult to more difficult or boring to less boring.
  • Two syllables that end with “y” – add “er” and change “y” to “i”, like happy to happier or early to earlier.
  • Three syllable words – use “more” or “less”, like more interesting or less dangerous.

What Is a Superlative Adjective

A superlative adjective compares three or more nouns. This takes the comparison of nouns to the highest degree. An example would be: “My mother’s cooking is the best.” The rules for making superlative adjectives are almost identical to the rules for making comparative adjectives. They are:

  • One syllable words – add “est” to the word. Remember that it is sometimes necessary to double the final consonant. Examples are: strong to strongest and big to biggest.
  • One syllable words ending with an “e” – only add “st” like fine to finest or rare to rarest.
  • Two syllable words ending with a “y” – change the “y” to an “i” and add “est.” Two examples are crazy to craziest and silly to silliest.
  • Two and three syllable words – use “most” or “least.” Examples include most desirable and least expensive.

Comparing Adjectives

The best way to answer the question, “What is a superlative adjective?” is to show examples that compare regular adjectives, comparative adjectives, and superlative adjectives. Following is a list of adjectives with their comparative and superlative forms:

  • old, older, oldest
  • thin, thinner, thinnest
  • curly, curlier, curliest
  • nice, nicer, nicest
  • simple, simpler, simplest
  • gullible, more gullible, most gullible
  • powerful, less powerful, least powerful
  • famous, more famous, most famous
  • upset, less upset, least upset

Here are several sentences using these adjectives in their superlative form:

  • He is the oldest one at the country club.
  • That is the thinnest dog in the kennel.
  • You have the curliest hair I have ever seen.
  • She was the nicest person there.
  • Those are the simplest instructions.
  • Mary is the most gullible person I know.
  • That brand is the least powerful for getting out stains.
  • Pavarotti was the most famous singer of the 20th century.
  • I was the least upset of the team after the loss.

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