Easy Learning German

Superlatives of adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is a superlative adjective?
A superlative adjective in English is one with -est on the end of it or most or least in front of it, that is used to compare people or things, for example, thinnest, most beautiful.
  • In German, to say that something or someone is easiest, youngest, most expensive and so on, you add -st to the simple form of the adjective. As with comparative forms, the vowel in the simple form can change. Superlative forms are generally used with the definite article and take the same weak endings as their simple forms.
Deine Hausaufgaben waren die einfachsten.Your homework was easiest.
Sie ist die Jüngste in der Familie.She is the youngest in the family.
Ich wollte die teuerste Jacke im Laden kaufen.I wanted to buy the most expensive jacket in the shop.
  • Adjectives ending in -t, -tz, -z, -sch, -ss or form the superlative by adding -est instead of -st.
der/die/das schlechtestethe worst
Das war der schlechteste Film seit Jahren.That was the worst film in years.
der/die/das schmerzhaftestethe most painful
Das war ihre schmerzhafteste Verletzung.That was her most painful injury.
der/die/das süßestethe sweetest
Ich möchte den süßesten Nachtisch.I would like the sweetest dessert.
der/die/das stolzestethe proudest
Sie war die stolzeste Mutter in der Gegend.She was the proudest mother in the area.
der/die/das frischestethe freshest
Für dieses Rezept braucht man das frischeste Obst.You need the freshest fruit for this recipe.
  • Adjectives ending in -eu and -au also add -est to form the superlative.
der/die/das neuestethe newest, the latest
Ich brauche die neueste Ausgabe des Wörterbuchs.I need the latest edition of the dictionary.
der/die/das schlauestethe cleverest
Sie ist die schlaueste Schülerin in der Klasse.She is the cleverest student in the class.
  • The English superlative most, meaning very, can be expressed in German by any of the following words.
SuperlativeMeaning
äußerstextremely
sehrvery
besondersespecially
außerordentlichexceptionally
höchstextremely (not used with words of one syllable)
furchtbarterribly (used only in conversation)
richtigreally/most (used only in conversation)
 
Sie ist ein äußerst begabter Mensch.She is a most gifted person.
Das Essen war besonders schlecht.The food was really dreadful.
Der Wein war furchtbar teuer.The wine was terribly expensive.
Das sieht richtig komisch aus.That looks really funny.
TipJust as English has some irregular comparative and superlative forms – better instead of ‘more good’, and worst instead of ‘most bad’ – German also has a few irregular forms.
AdjectiveMeaningComparativeMeaningSuperlativeMeaning
gutgoodbesserbetterder bestethe best
hochhighhöherhigherder höchstethe highest
vielmuch/a lotmehrmoreder meistethe most
nahnearnähernearerder nächstethe nearest
 
Ich habe eine bessere Idee.I have a better idea.
Wo liegt der nächste Bahnhof?Where is the nearest station?
Key points
  • Most German superlatives are formed by adding -st to the simple form of the adjective.
  • Adjectives ending in -t, -tz, -z, -sch, -ss, , -eu or -au, form the superlative by adding -est instead of -st.
  • Gut, hoch, viel and nah have irregular comparative and superlative forms: gut/besser/der beste, hoch/höher/der höchste, viel/mehr/der meiste, nah/näher/der nächste.

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