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Quick answer
"El mejor" is a phrase which is often translated as "the best", and "mejor" is an adjective which is often translated as "better". Learn more about the difference between "el mejor" and "mejor" below.
el mejor(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (masculine) (used as adjective)
a. the best (superlative)
Este es el mejor carro que he tenido nunca.This is the best car I've ever had.
b. the better (comparative)
El mejor reloj de los dos es también el más caro.The better watch of the two is also the more expensive one.
2. (masculine) (used as pronoun)
a. the best (superlative)
Hay muchos jugadores de tenis buenos, pero yo creo que Nadal es el mejor.There are many good tennis players, but I think Nadal is the best.
b. the best one (superlative)
De todos estos celulares, ¿cuál es el mejor?Of all these cellphones, which is the best one?
c. the better one (comparative)
Entre los años 2017 y 2018, me quedo con el 2018, fue el mejor.Between years 2017 and 2018, I'd chose 2018, it was the better one.
d. the better (comparative)
Este es el mejor de los dos equipos. Estoy segura de que ganará.This is the better of the two teams. I'm sure it'll win.
e. better (comparative)
¿Cuál de los dos cafés es el mejor? - El colombiano.Which of the two coffees is better? - The Colombian one.
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An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (improved or superior)
a. better (comparative)
Mi batido es mejor que el tuyo.My milkshake is better than yours.
Este cuadro es mejor que el otro que pintaste.This painting is better than the other one you painted.
b. best (superlative)
¡Es la mejor fiesta del mundo!This is the best party in the world!
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
2. (in an improved or superior way)
a. better (comparative)
Me siento mejor que ayer.I feel better than yesterday.
Ella canta mejor que tú.She sings better than you.
b. best (superlative)
Haz lo mejor que puedas.Do the best you can.
3. (preferably)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Mejor decírselo, yo creo.I think it would be better to tell them.
Mejor vamos otro día.We'd better go another day.
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