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Double Superlative

What Is a Double Superlative?

homesitemapA-Z grammar terms double superlative
A double superlative is a grammar mistake caused by applying two ways of forming a superlative instead of one. Double superlatives are most commonly committed when someone uses "-est" and "most" at the same time (e.g., most tallest).

Table of Contents

  • Examples of Double Superlatives
  • Avoiding Double Superlatives
  • Why Understanding "Double Superlatives" Is Important
  • Test Time!
double superlative example

Examples of Double Superlatives

  • He is the most wisest. wrong cross
  • (should be wisest)
  • She is the most quickest. wrong cross
  • (should be quickest)

Avoiding Double Superlatives

The rules for forming the superlatives of adjectives are summarized in the table below.
Type of AdjectiveExampleRuleExample
one syllablestrongadd -eststrongest
one syllable ending vowel consonantbigdouble consonant and add -estbiggest
more than one syllablefamousprecede with less or moremore famous
less famous
more than one syllable ending ysillyremove y and add -ier
for the less version, precede with less
sillier
less silly
irregulargood
bad
There are no rules.best
worst
A superlative is created by applying one of these rules (the appropriate one) to your adjective. A double superlative (which is a serious grammar mistake) is created by apply two of the rules.
  • He is the most silliest person I know. wrong cross
  • (should be silliest)
  • She is our most best player. wrong cross
  • (should be best)
  • It's the worstest meal I've ever eaten. wrong cross
  • (should be worst)
The examples above are all double superlatives of adjectives. Occasionally, you see double superlatives with adverbs too.
  • I tried most hardest. wrong cross
  • (should be hardest)

Why Understanding "Double Superlatives" Is Important

Double superlatives are more common in speech than in writing. In speech, they can often be written off as a moment of absentmindedness, but, in writing, a double superlative is a credibility-bashing grammar howler. Read more about forming superlatives.

Key Point

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.

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