Adjectives are among some of the most enjoyable words to use, since they give you the opportunity to add an attribute to a noun. You’re using adjectives anytime you describe someone as being beautiful or adventurous. Adding these descriptions to a sentence not only makes your writing come to life, but they can also add clarity to a subject.
Diving into the definition of adjectives also requires going a little deeper to learn more about the different types that exist in the English language. Superlative adjectives are ones that describe the highest degree of a specific quality, and you’ll need to know a few rules about using them correctly.
The simplest rule to follow is to use this type of adjective when you are describing the quality of a thing that exists within a group. For example, you can’t really be the tallest person in a room if you are the only person standing there. Learning a few more rules about how to use these adjectives helps you to show the reader you have the most amazing language skills.
The easiest way to break down how to form superlatives is by checking to see how many syllables are in a word. If a word has one or two syllables, then you’ll add “est” to the end. For instance, old will suddenly become oldest. Remember that if you are dealing with a consonant-vowel-consonant word, such as big, you’ll double the last letter before adding the ending. Using this method, big would become biggest.
With longer words, things don’t get much more complicated. For the use of these kinds of adjectives, you’ll consider a word to be long if it has two syllables but doesn’t end in “y”. You’ll also consider any word with three or more syllables to be long. These words are easy to change to the highest degree, since all you have to do is add the word “most” in front. For example, something that is described as being expensive now becomes the most expensive.
By now, you’re probably feeling a lot like an expert regarding these adjectives, but you will want to note that they can sometimes get tricky. Taking a look at a few exceptions to the basic syllable rule helps you to avoid making common mistakes.
If you’re adding “est” to the end of a word, you might notice that things get a little awkward if there’s already an “e”. After all, you never see anyone writing the word “fineest”. In this instance, the “e” naturally drops off. You’ll just add “st” to the end. Rare becomes rarest, and sane becomes sanest. A simple way to remember this rule is to go with the easiest option. There’s no need to double up on that silent vowel since the word is less clunky when you drop one.
Two-syllable words that end in “y” are treated much like single-syllable words. However, you do need to make one of the simplest changes to make sure that everything is right. Just change the “y” to “i” and add the “est’ to the end. Now, you’ve turned silly into the silliest, or you can switch lazy into the laziest. Isn’t that just the craziest? You can go ahead and have some more fun by practicing with turning a subject’s traits into the most extreme versions. Making a character in your story the zaniest out of their group of friends adds an element of interest compared to just describing them as being zany.
You might’ve noticed by now that language rules always throw in a few of the most unexpected curve balls. While irregular superlative adjectives may seem like the toughest, they actually aren’t if you know what to look for. In fact, you likely naturally change irregular adjectives into their superlative form every day without even thinking about it. For example, people rarely say goodest. Instead, you naturally change good into superlative form by saying that someone is the best at something. In a similar manner, bad becomes the worst, and you’ll say that many is the most.
Once you start playing around with superlatives, you’ll want to resist the urge to take things over the top. Whether you are writing or speaking, using only one superlative form at a time is important. You might say that something was the funniest, and you can even say that it was the most funny. You just don’t ever want to say that it was the most funniest in formal writing or conversation. Doing so can definitely get you dinged for grammar.
If you’ve been paying close attention, then you’ve probably already noticed superlatives scattered throughout this piece. Here are a few more to help you understand how to use them in a sentence.
Right now, you’re probably thinking that superlative adjectives are the most amazing discovery. Yet, there is still so much to learn about the different types of adjectives that you can use to spice up your writing. Comparative adjectives also have a bigger place in the writing world than simple ones. Plus, you don’t want to overlook the ability to make descriptive words do double duty by using compound adjectives. Now that you’ve got a grip on a superlative adjective go ahead and explore the other types you can use to round out your writing and speech.