UNIT 105. Superlatives (the longest/the most enjoyable, etc.)

Canada-07 grammar


Study these examples:
What is the longest river in the world?
What was the most enjoyable vacation you’ve ever taken?

Longest and most enjoyable are superlative forms.


The superlative form is -est or most … In general, we use -est for short words and most …
for longer words The rules are the same as those for the comparative – see Unit 102.

long -> longest
hot -> hottest
easy -> easiest
hard -> hardest


most famous
most boring
most difficult
most expensive

A few adjectives are irregular:

good -> best
bad -> worst
far -> farthest/furthest


We normally use the before a superlative (the longest / the most famous, etc.):
– Yesterday was the hottest day of the year.
– The film was really boring. It was the most boring film I’ve ever seen.
– She is a really nice person – one of the nicest people I know.
– Why does he always come to see me at the worst possible time?

Compare superlative and comparative:
– This hotel is the cheapest in town. (superlative)
This hotel is cheaper than all the others in town. (comparative)
– He’s the most patient person I’ve ever met.
He’s much more patient than I am.


Oldest and eldest

The superlative of old is oldest:
– That church is the oldest building in the town. (not the eldest)

We use eldest (or oldest) when we are talking about people in a family:
– My eldest son is 13 years old. (or My oldest son)
– Are you the eldest in your family? (or the oldest)


After superlatives we normally use in with places:
– What’s the longest river in the world? (not of the world)
– We had a nice room. It was one of the best in the hotel. (not of the hotel)

We also use in for organizations and groups of people (a class / a company, etc.):
– Who is the youngest student in the class? (not of the class)

For a period of time, we normally use of:
– What was the happiest day of your life?
– Yesterday was the hottest day of the year.


We often use the present perfect(I have done) after a superlative:
– What’s the most important decision you’ve ever had to make?
– That was the best vacation I’ve taken for a long time.