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Superlative

The superlative is closely related to the comparative; but whereas the comparative marks a relative distinction, the superlative marks an absolute distinction. This is the difference, for example, between saying that one is "greater than" the other, and saying one is the "greatest" of them all. The "-est" suffix is common for the superlative construction, as is the use of the word "most". The superlative can be either an adjective or an adverb. 

What is a Superlative?

Are you interested in finding out more about what the superlative is? In that case, it is a good thing that you have arrived at this website provided by Ultius: the greatest custom writing service on the Web. 

That was not a boast; in fact, it was an example of the superlative in action.

A superlative is an adjective or adverb that signifies that a noun or verb has achieved an absolute, or the highest degree of some quality. When a word is described by a superlative, it means that there is no other object or action of its class that is more exemplary of that quality than that word. 

Using a Superlative Correctly

The following sentence is an example of the superlative being used in the correct way. 

"As a result of extensive practice with meditation, he had learned how to breathe in the healthiest possible way." 

The adjective "healthiest" here is the superlative, and the noun it modifies is "possible way".

Using a Superlative Incorrectly 

"Everyone agreed that she was the beautifulest woman in the room, and the goodest dancer as well."

The superlative of beautiful would be "most beautiful", and the superlative of good would be best. 

In case you are still confused about the meaning of the superlative, here are a couple guidelines to help you out. 

  1. One of the trickier things about the superlative is conjugation. Some superlative adjectives are formed by adding the suffix "-est" to the word, while others are formed by placing the word "most" before the base adjective. Yet others, like "best", are formed in an irregular way. It takes experience to get all the individual rules figured out. 
  2. Although superlative adverbs are surely possible, they are less common that superlative adjectives. For instance, you can say that a man took advice "most seriously"; but there aren't too many examples of similar constructions. Often, adverbs are constructed more as comparatives than superlatives—for example, in instructions to play harder, or sing more quietly. 

Psychological Roots of the Term

The superlative is probably based on the human instinct toward achievement and heroism. Ever since the beginning of the human species, people have always had a tendency to compare themselves against each other and to become the "best" in whatever defined them as who they were. Perhaps the psychology and motivation of a superlative in human nature is due to courtship behavior: when one is attempting to woo a potential partner, it is generally necessary to convince him/her that one has achieved a superlative level of desirability. Something similar can be said about all situations in which competition is present, including athletics and marketing. 

In addition, the fact that the superlative adjective is more common than the superlative adverb is likely related to the nature of objects on the one hand and actions on the other. An object is a discrete, fixed entity, which makes it easy to compare it against other objects in a systematic way. An action, though, is always in flux; you can do more or less of something, but it is somewhat difficult to construct this in terms of a superlative. For example, it is possible to use  the superlative and say that the athlete ran the fastest of all the athletes; but it would sound more natural to say that the athlete ran faster than all the others. 

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