Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this episode, I'm going to talk about superlatives. Superlatives are words that we use to express the extreme of something, or the highest degree of something. I'm going to talk about irregular superlatives and I'm going to talk about how to make the regular superlative forms for different words. Let's get started.
As I just said, a superlative is a word that expresses the extreme of something, or the highest degree of something. A few common examples of this are, for example, the words "best" and "worst." "Best" is the superlative, the most extreme form, of the adjective "good." If we say something is good but we want to express that it is like the top of something, we can use the word "best" to describe that. For example, "Your best friend," is the friend that you have the closest relationship with. There are good friend but your top friend is your best friend. The opposite, though, is "worst." "Worst" is the superlative form of "bad." Again, something that is bad, the thing that exhibits the highest degree of bad qualities, we use the word "worst" to describe. "My worst nightmare," for example; or "The worst day," for example.
We also see a different pattern where we use the word "most" before an adjective. Here, I have "most fun." "Fun" is an irregular adjective so are good and bad, but we see here with the word "fun" that "most" can be placed before an adjective to create the superlative form. In this case, "most fun" describes an activity or something that you feel is very, very fun and has the highest level of fun. "That was the most fun day I've ever had," or, "That was the most fun barbeque I've ever had," or, "That barbeque was the most fun I've ever had." I don't know. There are different ways to say these things. We're going to look at how to make the regular forms as well. As I said, "good," "bad," and "fun" are examples of irregular adjectives. The superlative forms here don't necessarily follow the rules I'm going to explain, but these are very common so please keep them in mind.
Before we continue on, in this lesson, I'm going to talk about syllables. Syllables, if you don't remember, are like the beat of a word. For example, in a word like "beautiful," there are three beats in the word, beau-ti-ful, three syllables. Please keep in mind, the number of beats in a word when you're trying to decide how to make the superlative form of a word. I want to begin with one syllable adjectives. These are very short adjectives. I have "big," "small," "fat," "tall," and "short," very simple adjectives. To make the superlative form with a one syllable adjective, we add "est" to the end here. For example, "big" becomes "biggest." "Small" becomes "smallest." "Fat" becomes "fattest." "Tall" becomes "tallest." "Short" becomes "shortest." We simply add "est" to the end of the word to make the superlative form for a one syllable adjective. But you might notice some of these, especially "biggest" and "fattest," the spelling changes a little bit when we make the superlative form. A rule for you to remember when you're spelling, this doesn't really affect the pronunciation, but if you're writing, if the word ends in a single consonant plus a vowel plus a single consonant, double the last consonant when you're writing. Here, we see B-I-G, single consonant, vowel, single consonant, so we need to double the last consonant here. In this case, it's a "G." "Big" becomes "biggest" with two G's. The same thing is in "fat" with the change to "fattest." Single consonant, vowel, single consonant. We, therefore, need to double the consonants here in the spelling of "fattest." Please keep this in mind for writing. The pronunciation stays the same, "fattest" and "biggest." There's no double consonants sound, but please keep this in mind for your emails or for your text messages, for example.
Let's continue on to two syllable adjectives. Two syllable adjectives are a little bit tricky because, maybe, there are some that don't always follow out the same rule. Let's look at a few examples. I have "pretty," "little," "handsome," "nervous," and "worried." For two syllable adjectives, we'll either add "est," as we did over here with one syllable adjectives, or we might use "most" before the adjective. This is something that will come with practice and with, for example, reading and doing listening, to hear which one's native speakers most commonly use. For example, with the word "handsome," I have "handsomest" and "most handsome." You might hear both in some cases. It could depend on the region that you're in, the kind of English that is spoken there. Just listen for what's around you. If you try to use one of these, if you'd like to use one of these and you're not sure which form to use, try using "most" and if it doesn't work out, then you'll know to use the "est" form, instead.
Let's take a look. There a couple of other points I want to mention here. First, when you are using an adjective that ends in "Y," in this case, I have "pretty," the spelling will change with this as well. The "y" at the end of the adjective will be removed. We'll drop the "y" at the end and we'll add "iest." The pronunciation doesn't change but the spelling does. "Pretty" becomes "prettiest" here. The "Y" changes to an "I" in spelling. Here, with the adjective "little," there's no change. We just add "est." As I said, with handsome, here I add "est" or I've added "most" before the adjective. In the last two, I have "nervous" and "worried." For these adjectives, it's better to use "most." "The most nervous person," or "the most worried person in the room," for example. It sounds a little strange to say "nervousest" or "worriedest." It's a bit difficult to pronounce, so go with "most" in these cases. Please keep this in mind. Try using "most" before the adjective if ever you're not sure.
Let's now go to three syllable adjectives. Near the beginning of this lesson, I gave the example of "beautiful." Beau-ti-ful, three syllables. Each of these will follow this same rule. Three syllable adjectives, we need to use most in front of the adjective. "Exciting" becomes "most exciting." "Beautiful" becomes "most beautiful;" "Horrible," "most horrible;" "nutritious," "most nutritious;" and, "expensive," "most expensive." Please just add "most" before the adjective. Then, that will make the superlative form for these long adjectives.
These are the basic rules for how to make the superlative form. One thing to be careful of, though, I have heard some people use the superlative form correctly. However, they use "most" along with it. For example, "most biggest," or "most smallest." Don't combine them. If you use the "est," you do not need to use "most." "Most biggest" is incorrect. Please use only "biggest." There's only one change that needs to happen to the adjective. Please be careful.
If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section for this video. I hope it was useful for you. If you'd like to try out a superlative form or if you have a question about how to make the superlative form of an adjective, please check it out or send it to us in the comments and, maybe, we can help each other. Thanks very much for watching this lesson. I will see you again soon. Bye, bye.