Superlatives - the best, worst, most, & least

Overview

In general, there are three ways to compare nouns: the comparison of equality (as...as), the comparison of inequality (more/less than), and the superlative (the most/least). This reference describes the last form of the comparisons, superlatives, how to form it, and when to use it.

Superlatives with  Adjectives

Superlatives indicate the maximum amount of an adjective, usually described as "the most" or "the least" of something. To form the superlative in Spanish, you will use a formula very similar to that of comparisons of inequality except that you will use the definite article.

el/la + menos + adjective + de (least of) OR

el/la + más + adjective + de (most of)

  • Mi hermano es la persona menos responsable de la familia. (My brother is the least responsible person of the family.)
  • Mi madre es la más inteligente de la familia. (My mother is the most intelligent person of the family.)

For adjectives that have single word comparisons (mal - peor, grande - mayor, etc.), you do not need to use más or menos.

el/la + adjective + de

  • Mi padre es el mayor de sus hermanos. (My father is the oldest of his brothers.)
  • Esta película es la mejor de todas. (This movie is the best of all of them.)
Comparison  Superlative 
mayor older el/la mayor the oldest
mayor bigger/larger el/la mayor the biggest/largest
menor younger el/la menor the youngest
peor worse el/la peor the worst
mejor better el/la mejor the best

Short Superlatives

You can also form a superlative by adding -ísimo(s) or ísima(s) to an adjective and even some adverbs. This can translate to mean very, really, extremely, super, or any other ultimate word you can think of.

  • ¡Esa comida es buenísima! (This food is the best!)
  • Estoy encantadísimo. (I am extremely delighted.)
  • Las chicas allí son bellísimas. (Those girls over there are really beautiful.)
  • Los abogados estan ocupadísimos. (The lawyers are super busy.)
  • ¡Llegaste tardísimo! (You arrived super late!)
  • Caminas despacísimo. (You walk extremely slowly.)

Irregular Superlatives

Below you will find a chart of the most common irregular adjectives when it comes to the ísimo/a superlatives.

Adjective Superlative
cómico funny comiquísimo hilarious
blanco white blanquísimo bright white
fresco fresh fresquísimo super fresh
largo long larguísimo very long
amargo bitter amarguísimo really bitter
antiguo old antiquísimo very old
agradable nice agradabilísimo super nice
feliz happy felicísimo extremely happy
caliente hot calentísimo really hot

Also adjectives which end in -ble tend to change to -bil- in the base before adding -ísimo.

  • agradable → agradabilísimo
  • amable → amabilísimo
  • notable → notabilísimo
  • miserable → misirabilísimo

Many qualitative adjectives that have an /r/ in their last syllable do not always take the -ísimo/-ísima ending, but instead replace the final -r with -érrimo/-érrima.

  • acre → acérrimo
  • célebre → celebérrimo
  • libre → lebérrima
  • mísero → misérrimo
  • salubre → salubérrima

The suffix usually changes to -císimo/císima when the adjective ends in an -n, -dor, -or. 

  • inferior  → inferiorcísimo
  • hablador  →  habladorcísimo
  • joven  → jovencísimo

Take a practice quiz! Take a Practice Quiz

Test what you know with our quiz tool. Click the image to get started (it's free!).

Category: adjectives | Keywords: