Grammar Basics: What Are Superlatives?

Grammar Basics: What Are Superlatives?
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Updated on 22 March 2016

Can you have two best friends? Someone posted this question on Grammarly Answers. Why a question about friendship? The grammar issue has to do with the adjective “best.” Best is a superlative. Let’s discuss what that means.

Suppose you have three rich friends. Bob has five million dollars. Bill has eight million dollars. Bernice has two million dollars. If you were comparing two friends, you would use a comparative adjective: Bill is richer than Bob. When you want to express the highest or most extreme degree of the quality you are comparing, you need a superlative: Bill is my richest friend.

Forming superlative adjectives is easy. For most short adjectives, you add “est” to the end of the word. Of course, if a single syllable word already ends with E, you only need to add the “st.” To form the superlative of longer words, you put the words “most” or “least” in front of them. Bernice is not the wealthiest, but she buys the most expensive clothes. You will notice that the Y of “wealthy” becomes I in the superlative form.

“Best” is the superlative form of “good.” Remember the definition of a superlative adjective. It expresses the highest degree of the quality. When you talk about a best friend, is it possible to have more than one? You can view the answers given and share your opinion by visiting Grammarly Answers.

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