A superlative, by definition, is the form of a noun, adjective or adverb that indicates a quality to the extreme, such as saying a man is "really handsome", a car is the "fastest" or a meal is the "most delicious".
Spanish superlatives can be roughly organized into two categories: relative superlatives and absolute superlatives.
Relative Superlatives in Spanish
A relative superlative is used to describe a noun in comparison with a larger group. In English, the relative superlative is formed by using words like "most" (example: most intelligent) and "least" before the adjective or by adding the ending "-est" to the adjective (example: fastest).
- That's the least expensive shirt in the store.
- He is the smartest boy in the class.
In Spanish, the relative superlative is formed using the following construction:
definite article + noun + mas/menos + adjective + de
- Example 1: It is the least expensive shirt in the store.
- Example 2: He is the smartest student in the class.
Absolute Superlatives in Spanish
An absolute superlative is used to describe a noun but, unlike a relative superlative, is not used to describe the quality the noun with a larger group. For example: He is
In Spanish, the absolute superlative is formed in one of thee ways, each superlative statement being stronger than the one that precedes it..
- muy (very) + adjective
- Es muy grande. = He is very big.
- sumamente (extremely) + adjective
- Es sumamente grande. = He is extremely big.
- adjective + endings -ísimo/-ísima/-ísimos/-ísimas
- Es grandísimo. = He is extremely, incredibly and unsurpassably big.