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Superlative

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Definition: The form of a noun, adjective or adverb that indicates a quality to the extreme degree. For example, in a sentence such as "it is fastest" (es el más rápido), "fastest" (el más rápido) is a superlative.

In English, the superlative is formed in one of two ways: by preceding an adjective or adverb with "most" or by adding the suffix "-est." It is common, but not necessary, for an English superlative to be used in a noun form. (In other words "it is the fastest" means the same as "it is fastest.") Another type of superlative, one that indicates an extreme in the opposite direction, is to precede an adjective or adverb with "least."

In Spanish, the superlative of adjectives usually is formed by using the adjective as a noun and preceding it by el más, las más, los más or las más. (El menos, las menos, los menos or las menos can also be used to indicate a superlative in the opposite direction, the equivalent of "least.") There are some constructions where simply más, without the definite article, is used, such as to form the superlative of adverbs. Out of context, the meaning can seem ambiguous to English speakers. For example, él corre más rápido can mean "he runs faster" or "he runs fastest," depending on the context.

Words such as "best" (mejor) and "worst" (peor) can also stand alone as superlatives.

Also Known As: superlativo or el superlativo in Spanish.
Examples:
Superlatives are in boldface: She is my kindest friend. (Es mi amiga más amable.) Of the three, he studies the most intensely. (De los tres estudia más intensamente.) This is the most beautiful flower. (Esta flor es la más bella.)
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