Double Superlative

Double Superlatives

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 (e.g., most tallest).

Easy Examples of Double Superlatives

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

Real-Life Examples of Double Superlatives

The rules for creating the superlatives of adjectives are summarized in the table below.
Type of Adjective Example Rule Example
one syllable strong add -est strongest
one syllable ending vowel consonant big double consonant and add -est biggest
more than one syllable famous precede with less or more more famous
less famous
more than one syllable ending y silly remove y and add -ier
for the less version, precede with less
less silly
irregular good
There are no rules. best
A superlative is created by applying one of these rules as it befits 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]
  • (should be silliest)
  • She is our most best player. [wrong]
  • (should be best)
  • It's the worstest meal I've ever eaten.
  • (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]
  • (should be hardest)

    Why Should I Care about Double Superlatives?

    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.

    Forming superlatives correctly is covered in the section on superlatives.

    Key Points

    There are several ways to form a superlative. Apply the way that fits your word. If you apply two of the ways, you'll have created a serious mistake called a double superlative.
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