fb

English Grammar: Superlatives

When we want to compare two things in English, we use a comparative form. (See our English grammar page on comparatives for explanations and examples.)

But we can also use a superlative form of an adjective to differentiate one thing or person from others.

For example, to talk about the ages of three people:

Tony is 33, Susanna is 32, Deborah is 30.

Susanna is older than Deborah, but Tony is the oldest of all three.
Susanna is younger than Tony, but Deborah is the youngest of all three.

Look at the table below to see how we form comparative and superlative forms of three different types of adjective:

superlatives

One-syllable adjectives

These are short adjectives like nice, hot, cheap, cold, etc.

Adjectives ending with -y

These are adjectives such as lovely, pretty, funny, etc. When an adjective ends with -y, the comparative form replaces the -y with -ier, and the superlative form replaces it with -iest.)

Two or more syllable adjectives

These are adjectives with two or more syllables, such as boring (bor – ing), difficult (di – ffi – cult).

Irregular adjectives

Be careful with these adjectives:

good (comparative – better; superlative – the best)
bad (comparative – worse; superlative – the worst)
far (comparative – further; superlative – the furthest)

Practice

Look at the list of holiday activities, then choose the best answer in the quiz.

square_2258988806Playing board games (like monopoly, scrabble, chess, etc)
Advantage: it doesn’t cost anything
Disadvantage: a game can take hours!

square_9733309303Going windsurfing
Advantage: it’s fun
Disadvantage: it’s expensive (you need a teacher and equipment) and it’s difficult

– Going for a drive (getting in the car and driving around)
– Going for a meal in a restaurant
– Going for a walk in the countryside
– Sunbathing (lying in the sun on the beach to get a suntan)
– Visiting a museum
– Writing holiday postcards


Superlatives

Choose the correct answer.

Photo credits
Monopoly
Windsurfing

Speak English Fluently!

Hi! I’m Clare, an English teacher and the founder of this site.

I can help you speak English more easily! Start here for English fluency:
The Fast Phrase Finder – The world’s FIRST spreadsheet of fluency phrases. Get your first 10 English fluency phrases here!