The superlative form of adjectives is used to describe extreme qualities. Like the comparative form, the rules for the form depend on the number of syllables that the adjective has.

An adjective that has one to two syllables takes the -est suffix to denote the extreme quality.

  • Tall-tallest
  • Small-smallest
  • High-highest
  • Smart-smartest

With the words with two syllables, it’s the same pattern, but notice that for words ending in -y ,-iest is added to the end.

  • Pretty-prettier-prettiest*
  • Simple-simpler– simplest
  • Quiet-quieter-quietest

Words with three syllables need to have the word ‘most’ in front of them in order to show the extreme quality.

  • Successful- most successful
  • Beautifulmost beautiful
  • Intelligentmost intelligent


Let’s look at the exceptions:

  • Good-best
  • Bad-worst
  • Little-least
  • Much-fewest
  • Far-farthest

One last thing to note is that when used in a sentence, the superlative form is often followed by an ‘of’ or ‘that’ clause.

  • She is the tallest of the group.
  • He is the fastest runner that the team has.