Superlatives

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Welcome to your Superlatives lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• What are superlatives?
Forming superlatives
• Using “The” with superlatives
• “Oldest” and “Eldest”
• Using “In” and “Of” with superlatives
• Using the Present Perfect with superlatives
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

What are superlatives?

Have a look at these examples:

“What’s the oldest book in the world?”

“What’s the best meal you’ve eaten?”

Forming superlatives

The superlative form is “+est” or “most +”. Generally speaking, we use “+est” for short words, and “most +” for longer words. The rules are the same as the comparative.

long → longest tall → tallest easy → easiest
hard → hardest slow → slowest strong → strongest 

but…

famous → most famous interesting → most interesting boring → most boring 

again, a few adjectives are irregular:

far → furthest good → best bad → worst 

Using “The” with superlatives

“The” is normally used before a superlative:

“This is the tallest building in the country.”

“She’s the prettiest girl I know.”

“You always call me at the worst possible time!”

Compare the comparative and the superlative forms:

“This is the best hotel in town.” (superlative)
“This hotel is better than the others.” (comparative)

“This is the most dangerous sport I’ve heard of!” (superlative)
“Paragliding is more dangerous than mountain biking.” (comparative)

“Oldest” and “Eldest”

The superlative form of “old” is “oldest”:

“This is the oldest building in town.”

We use “eldest” when we are talking about people in a family. (We can also use “oldest” in these situations):

“My eldest daughter is 11.” (or “oldest”)

“His eldest sister is a doctor.” (or “oldest”)

Using “In” and “Of” with superlatives

After superlatives, we normally use “in” with places:

“What’s the biggest desert in the world?”

“It was the cheapest room in the hotel.”

We also use “in” for groups of people and organisations:

“Who’s the oldest person in your company?”

When talking about a period of time, we normally use “of”:

“Which is your favourite day of the week?”

“Today is the coldest day of the year.”

Using the Present Perfect with superlatives

We often use the Present Perfect after a superlative:

“What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?”

“This is the best book I’ve read in a long time.”

Useful Links

Comparatives 1
Comparatives 2

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