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Grammar Tip – Relative Superlative in Spanish

Spanish Grammar Tip

Los superlativos relativos (Spanish Relative Superlative)

The adjectival superlative degree allows us to express a quality that something, someone or even an action has in its greatest degree of intensity. After analysing the superlative in its absolute form, let’s look at how the other superlative type works in Spanish.

El superlativo relativo (Spanish relative superlative) expresses a quality in its maximum degree, same as the absolute does, although always in relation to a specifically limited group rather than above all other possible terms of comparison.

The relative superlative is formed by adding the correct definite articles (el, la, los, las) to the comparative degree of the adjective (más = more / menos = less). Both article and adjectives must agree with the noun they refer to in gender and number.

 

definite article comparative adjective second term

masculine singular = el +

feminine singular = la +

masculine plural = los +

feminine plural = las +

más / menos + adjective +

de + group

 

Here are some examples:

Anita es la estudiante más amable de toda la escuela. → Anita is the kindest students in the whole school.

Sus hermanas son las menos simpáticas de toda la familia. → Her sisters are the least nice of the whole family.

Son los caramelos más asquerosos de toda la tienda.  → They’re the nastiest candies in the entire shop.

De todos los edificios de la ciudad, esos son los más altos. → Those are the tallest buildings in the entire city.

When the second term following the relative superlative is a sentence, the preposition de is replaced by the conjunction que.

Anita es la estudiante más amable que he tenido hasta ahora.  → Anita is the kindest students I have had so far.

Son los caramelos más asquerosos que he probado. → They’re the nastiest candies that I’ve ever tried.

Lastly, as it happened with a particular number of adjectives and their comparative forms, here is a list of adjectives featuring double relative superlative forms:

 

positive degree regular relative superlative alternative relative superlative
bueno el más bueno de el mejor de
malo el más malo de el peor de
grande el más grande de el mayor de
pequeño el más pequeño de el menor de

 

Antonio es el menor de los tres primos. → Antonio is the youngest of the three cousins.

Ese es el peor actor del cine español. → That’s the worst actor in the Spanish film industry.


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