Spanish Superlative

Beginner Spanish - Level A2

Overview

Superlatives in Spanish are adjectives that you’ll use to compare three or more things where one is “the most” or “the least” in certain characteristics.

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Spanish A2

 

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The Superlative in Spanish

One of the most common ways to describe someone or something in Spanish is to compare it against something similar. If you think about it, people compare things against each other on a daily basis. As a result, you should take the time to master Spanish superlatives and comparatives. Comparative and superlative adjectives are an important part of learning Spanish. 

Spanish superlatives are closely related to comparative sentences since they describe the level of an attribute that a person, activity, or thing has. However, Spanish superlatives are words or structures that help you express that a subject is at the top (greatest) or at the bottom (least) of a group. In other words, you use superlatives in Spanish to: 

  • Express that a person in a group has outstanding characteristics that differentiate from his or her peers. 
  • Emphasize that a subject has the highest level of a certain quality. 
    • Absolute superlative
    • Relative superlative

There are two types of superlatives in Spanish. Superlativo absoluto doesn’t rely on a comparison. On the other hand, relative superlatives are a comparison to determine what subject has the most outstanding characteristics of that group. 

 

Forming Absolute Superlatives

As mentioned above, absolute superlatives express and emphasize that a subject has a remarkable or extraordinary characteristic. Because of this, Spanish absolute superlatives don’t require you to compare one object with another. The most common way to form this type of superlative is to change the adjective or adverb by adding the ending ‘-ísimo’ or its feminine form ‘-ísima’. Let’s see some examples:

[Noun] + [verb conjugated] + [adjective/adverb] + ísimo

Espérame, caminas rapidísimo.
Wait for me, you walk extremely fast.

Estos zapatos están baratísimos.
These shoes are super cheap.

La comida de mi mamá es buenísima.
My mom’s food is great.

 

Forming Relative Superlative

Unlike absolute superlatives in Spanish, relative superlatives actually rely on a comparison. The purpose of this structure is to express that a person or thing inside a group has the most or least outstanding characteristics of all. To put it another way, this type of superlative locates the subject either at the bottom or at the top of a group based on a determined quality. In this case, the formulas we use are:

… [definite article] + más + [adjective]
Or: 
… [definite article] + menos + [adjective] 

 

Something to notice is that Spanish superlatives are always built with the verb ‘ser’. You also need to make sure that the adjectives and Spanish definite articles agree in number and gender with the noun. Here are some examples:

[Noun] + [‘ser’ conjugated] + [definite article] + más / menos + [adjective] 

Quiero el pastel más rico que venda.
I want the tastiest cake you sell.

Eres la persona más amable que he conocido.
You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met.

Sonia y Joselyn son las menos pacientes
Sonia and Joselyn are the least patient.

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Superlatives are essential as well as comparatives, to learn how to say something is best or better than. In English we use words like best and hardest, and these are examples of relative superlatives. They are adjectives that compare whatever they describe with all other things in the same category.

Lucy es la mejor alumna de la clase.     Lucy is the best student in the class.

Pedro es el que más se ha esforzado.   Pedro is the one who puts in the most effort.

Another type of superlative is the absolute superlative. These are used when you want to say something is extreme in one way or another without comparing it to another group.

Claudia es realmente alta. Claudia is very tall.

Relative superlatives in Spanish are not too different from English. They follow a formula if that you may want to remember:

 

(Thing/person) es (definitive article) más (adjective) de (group)


Lucy es la persona más elegante de la fiesta.

Lucy is the most elegant person in/of the party.

 

To change “the most” for “the least,” simply write “the least” after the definite article.

 

Irregular Superlatives do not follow the rules above, and it is good to know them. Here are some of them: é í ñ ó ú ¿ ¡ á

 

     English Adjective                         Adjective                             Superlative

Good

Bueno/a

Mejor

Bad                                    

Malo/a

Peor

Old

Viejo/a

Mayor

Young

Joven

Menor

 

 

 

 

Other examples of Superlatives:

Mejor – Best

Peor – Worst

Menos – Least, Fewest

Mayor – Oldest

In colloquial Spanish, it is possible to say “más viejo” and “la más vieja” in referring to people. However, when we speak about animals and things, the word “mayor,” is not usual. To let people know that the quality referred to is present to an extreme degree, it is common to add the suffix “ísimo.”

 

Esa chica es guapísima.           That girl is very, very beautiful

Esto es carísimo.                       This is extremely expensive.

Adjectives (modify nouns) as Comparatives

One-syllable words:     -er            In Spanish:

clear à          clearer                       claro    à        más claro

sweet à         sweeter                     dulce    à        más dulce

tall à             taller                           alto      à        más alto

 

Two-syllable words ending in “y”:   change “y” to “i” . . . –ier

In Spanish:

funny  à        funnier                       gracioso/curioso          à        más gracioso/curioso

ugly    à        uglier                         feo        à        más feo

dirty   à        dirtier                         sucio    à        más sucio

 

Multi-syllable and “-ful” endings:   add “more”

In Spanish:

incredible   à   more incredible                increíble          à        más increíble 

horrible   à   more horrible                        horrible            à        más horrible 

flavorful   à   more flavorful                     sabroso            à        más sabroso

careful   à   more careful                            cuidadoso        à        más cuidadoso

 

Adverbs (modify verbs)

In Spanish:

clearly             à        claramente

carefully        à        cuidadosamente

fully                à        completamente

Practice: Adjectives and Adverbs

  1. I feel ______________ tonight than I did yesterday.
  2. joyfuller
  3. joyfuler
  4. more joyful
  5. more joyfuller

 

  1. That game was ______________ than I thought it would be.
  2. more extremeful
  3. more extreme
  4. extremerer
  5. extremer

 

  1. Your pool is ______________ than mine.
  2. clearly
  3. clearer
  4. more clearly
  5. clearful

 

  1. These pants feel ______________ on me now that I’ve gained weight.
  2. tighter
  3. tightful
  4. more tight
  5. more tightier

 

  1. You’re definitely ______________ than most comedians I know.
  2. funnyer
  3. fun
  4. more funnier
  5. funnier

 

  1. This couch feels ______________ than my house!
  2. heavyer
  3. heavier
  4. more heavier
  5. more heavily

 

  1. The ticket ______________ states what time the concert begins.
  2. clearer
  3. clearfully
  4. more clear
  5. clearly

 

  1. Suzy drives ______________ than her boyfriend, Sam.
  2. carefuller
  3. more carefully
  4. more careful
  5. carefullier

 

  1. A quicker lunch will help you finish your work ______________ next time.
  2. more quick
  3. more quickly
  4. quicker
  5. more quicker

 

  1. We need to ______________ fill these bags with fruit so we can feed our family.
  2. fuller
  3. more fuller
  4. fully
  5. more fullier

Translate the following sentences

 

  1. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

           ________________________________________.

 

  1. She has fewest books.

 

         ________________________________________.

 

  1. I received more than twenty letters.

 

           _______________________________________.

 

  1. Houses are more and more expensive.

 

             ________________________________________________.

 

  1. The cheaper a car is, the worse it is.

 

             _______________________________________________.

 

Chose the correct word in parenthesis to complete the sentences. (Make it Superlative)

 

  1. Los estudiantes tienen (tanto/la más) alta calificación.
  1. Yo tengo (el mejor/un buen) carro.
  2. Alfredo y Ana son (los mejores/el mejor) de su clase.
  1. Tina quiere comprar los regalos que son (carísimos/caros) en la tienda.
  1. El profesor tiene (los mejores/el mejor) traje.

 

Answer Key

  1. Ella es la mujer más bonita que he visto en mi vida.
  2. Ella tiene menos libros.
  3. He recibido más de veinte cartas.
  4. Las casas están más y más caras.
  5. Mientras más barato el carro, peor es.

 

  1. la más   2.el mejor   3.los mejores   4. carísimos   5. el mejor

Ponerse – To put on                          

Mayor que – Older than

Envejecer – To get old                    

Menor que – Les than

Practicar – To practice                      

Mejor que – More than

Tener poco – To have little                

Peor que – Worse than

Ser muy – Be much                            

Demasiado – Too much

Pensar – To think                              

Medicinas - Medicines

Gastar – To spend                            

Oficinas - Offices

Recivir – To receive

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