Superlatives are a fundamental aspect of any language, expressing the highest degree of something or someone in comparison to a group. In Spanish, these are known as “superlativos”. This concise guide will elucidate the types of superlatives in Spanish and illustrate their usage through examples.
Types of Superlatives
In Spanish, there are two types of superlatives: relative and absolute.
Relative Superlatives describe a noun within the context of a larger group, indicating the “most” or “least” of a certain quality.
Absolute Superlatives, on the other hand, emphasize an adjective to a high degree without comparing it to other entities.
The relative superlative is formed by using the formula:
definite article + noun + más (menos) + adjective + de
- John es el niño más inteligente de la clase (John is the smartest boy in the class)
- De los tres, Moe es el más malo (Of the three, Moe is the meanest)
The noun can be omitted in the relative superlative, as in:
- María es la más delgada de la clase (Mary is the thinnest in the class)
The absolute superlative for adjectives has three possible forms:
- muy + adjective
- sumamente + adjective
- adjective + ísimo (-a, -os, -as)
Each form escalates the intensity of the superlative statement. Here are examples:
- muy guapo (very handsome)
- sumamente guapo (extremely handsome)
- guapísimo (incredibly handsome)
And here are a few more sentences illustrating these forms:
- El libro es carísimo (The book is extremely expensive)
- El señor Gómez es sumamente importante para esta empresa (Mr. Gómez is extremely important for this company)
- La silla es muy antigua (The chair is very old)
In conclusion, expressing superlatives in Spanish requires understanding these key structures for relative and absolute superlatives. Whether you’re comparing within a group or emphasizing an adjective’s intensity, these formulas will enable you to accurately convey superlative comparisons in Spanish.
Check out our series of Complete Spanish Grammar articles – everything you’ll ever need to know about Spanish grammar.
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