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34

Indeed, both eldest and oldest refer to the greatest in age. The crucial difference, however, lies in the fact that eldest can only be used for related persons, while oldest can be used for any person, place or thing in a group of related or unrelated elements. Examples: He is the eldest/oldest of the three children. Mine is the eldest/oldest car on ...


16

Near is a bit of an unusual 'frozen' word. It was originally the comparative form of nigh (from OE nior). The terms nearer and nearest came later as speakers reinterpreted near as a positive form. In addition near is rather vague with respect to its word class. The OED Online at near, adv.2 (and prep.2) notes the "difficulty of distinguishing the ...


15

Mostest is not an accepted word, though it is in some dictionaries listed as slang. Most is already in superlative form, so adding -est is redundant and ungrammatical. It was popularized, however, in the saying (intentionally ungrammatical, to convey a sense of crude common sense): "getting thar fustest with the mostest". However, unless you want to ...


14

Taken from Wiktionary: Funnest is a regular superlative of the adjective fun. However, the use of fun as an adjective is itself still often seen as informal or casual and to be avoided in formal writing, and this would apply equally to the superlative form. Merriam-Webster, however, gives fun as an adjective without comment, and states that funner and ...


14

The OED shows baddeste and baddyst as Middle English forms and baddest as being in use from the sixteenth century onwards. It notes, however, that baddest is now non-standard and regional. For that reason it should be avoided in formal Standard English. Not all contexts, however, require formal Standard English and the package illustrated is clearly one that ...


10

These say two different things. The most tuna are caught in early November. This means more tuna is caught in early November than any other comparable time frame. Here, 'most' is a superlative meaning "the amount that is greatest". It means the quantity of tuna caught in early November is greater than anything comparable, which would be tuna caught ...


10

You are correct. Read it this way: If h is consistent, then at most A* - CSCS will expand as many nodes as A* graph search. Or, more naturally: If h is consistent, then A* - CSCS will not expand any more nodes than A* graph search.


9

Short answer: "The most" is correct here. Long answer: Most can be used as both a superlative and an intensifier. You are interested in the superlative use: of all the themes under consideration, these are the ones that are present in the greatest number. In formal usage, you would almost always want to use the definite article the with a superlative ...


9

It seems we are talking about two meanings of bad. The first meaning is well recognised: bad: of unacceptable standard, unfavorable, inadequate, etc. comparative: worse superlative: worst The second meaning is informal, and is not considered Standard English, but usage is fairly common: bad: badass, not to be trifled with ...


8

Superior can be used in an absolute sense, meaning either 'pre-eminent' or 'snobbish'. If used so, it can obviously have a comparative and superlative: there was a verse in Punch about one of the Viceroys of India, starting 'My name is George Nathaniel Curzon/ I am a most superior person'. I think your author is trying for this and failing. (For what it's ...


7

It certainly used to be a rule, but there are grounds for ignoring it. This would be strongest where you were uncertain of the number of children (not the case here). But you can certainly argue that in logic, there is an oldest of 1, 2, or more children. So, your mother is almost certainly correct about what she was taught. Whether that stricture still ...


7

The proper medical terminology is superficial and deep. Veins located close to the surface of the skin are called superficial veins and the veins found in the muscles of the arms and legs are called deep veins.


6

You should use bottommost and topmost. The postfix "most" shows physical position. Use the postfix "most" with adjectives that compare three or more things. If you have two coins, do not use bottommost and topmost. You'd use bottom coin or top coin. If you have three coins, two are potential bottom coins, since only one is on the top. Because there are more ...


6

Workingest is not an accepted word in English (American or British). This verb+ing+est word structure is a form that is very occasionally used in uneducated circles or when attempting a casual, "folksy" style for a superlative. You can find various examples of the form being used at low frequencies, such as drinkingest, fightingest, cussingest, etc.


6

Superlatives describe a particular quality to the highest degree when compared to the same quality found elsewhere. So, we might say The water in the other two lakes is really quite clear, but I’d say this lake has the clearest water. However, the superlative can also describe an absolute, with something like the sense of very. So we might also say Oh, look ...


6

Both are grammatical, but they mean different things. The first supposes that several days this month have been warmer than the others, and that today is one of them. For example, the temperatures on 2, 8 and 19 September have been 16, 14 and 23 degrees and the temperature today is 18 degrees. All the other days in the month have been cooler. The second ...


6

Weird. Here's a typical usage chart for XXXer / XXXest of the two with heavier/heaviest... The same general pattern shows with older/oldest, larger/largest, etc. At some point in early C19, the superlative -est form starts to fall out of favour. Although it doesn't sound terrible to my modern ear, apparently these days we don't normally say something is ...


5

Sometimes, people don't like to say This is the best solution, because it is always possible for another person to come along with an even better solution you haven't thought of. They therefore use better, but don't follow the thought to its logical end, and use A better solution is.... This is technically a mistake, since, as you point out, there are many ...


5

No, she isn't right. The younger of two children is also the youngest. (Of course, both are correct, so if she prefers "younger" in her own letter, that's perfectly reasonable.) Indeed, there's a joke about referring to the only member of some category with a superlative (the joke being that the sole member is both the most X of its type and the least X ...


5

As far as your silly experiment, your problem arises in that ly is used to convert an adjective into an adverb, with the definition "in a [adjective] manner". Thus, sillily is a word ("in a silly manner") As far as "in a sillier manner", there are two rules for forming a superlative from an adverb. If the adverb was formed by adding ly to an adjective, you ...


5

Both are indeed correct. An article is only necessary in the superlative (or comparative) if the adjective is attributive (i.e. is in the same phrase as the noun it is describing). Consider the following examples: Example #1: John is the fastest boy. *John is fastest boy. Example #2 John is the fastest among his friends. John is ...


5

The word "baddest" does not describe the least desirable outcome. When talking about the least desirable outcome, the word you want to use is "worst". Many wouldn't accept "baddest" as a proper word at all. "Baddest" is common slang though, especially when used in conjunction with "biggest". Its usage comes from using "Bad" as slang word to mean "Cool" or ...


5

It is a clever example, but most will consider this to be a shortened form of nearest to them. Adjectives can take prepositional phrase complements, and of course are the only word class which takes superlative marking. This is a nice example of how linguistic data is frequently "corrected" by linguistic theory.


5

This is a good example of how useless traditional parts of speech are. And how much confusion results from searching for them. As usual, many markers have been deleted from a clause, producing an opaque (but much shorter) result. Below, the deleted markers are in boldface: a voice spoke from the chair which was the nearest chair to them As you can see, ...


5

"Empty" by itself can be viewed as a binary option (either it's empty or it isn't), but how close an object is to being empty is clearly a matter of degree suitable for comparative and superlative usages. A sixteen-ounce bottle with only one ounce of liquid in it is "nearly empty", and is also clearly "emptier" (i.e. having more empty space inside it) than ...


4

If there is a single column, referring to the top and bottom coins in the column is perfectly appropriate. If there are multiple columns, then topmost and bottommost are (at least theoretically) the less ambiguous way to refer to the coin at the top of the highest column and the bottom of the deepest column respectively, although many people may feel ...


4

With the "the", you are saying that among all the common themes, these are the most common -- the top-ranked ones on the scale of common-ness. Without the "the", you are saying they're pretty common but there might be others just as common; technically "most" doesn't add anything, but functionally it adds some emphasis.


4

Webster's Third New International Dictionary gives wrongest as the superlative of wrong. EDIT FOR OP WHO ACTUALLY WANTED MY OPINION ON SOMETHING Yes, you knew it had to happen, that I would eventually be forced to step out from behind my adamantine wall of dictionary citations and render an actual (pause for a gasp) opinion or preference in which I ...


4

low - lower - lowest little - less/lesser - least A price is a level of cost, and refers to value within a scale. It can be high or low, or any variant thereof, but not least. You wouldn't say "the least rung" to refer the bottom level of a ladder, you'd say "the lowest rung." If, instead of "level of cost," you referred to the cost itself, you could say ...


4

Some prescriptive style guides insist that the superlative can only be used when comparing three or more things, and that the comparative must be used when comparing only two things. If you are writing in a very formal situation, you may want to follow this rule. However, in practice people often use the superlative for comparisons between only two items. ...



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