A friend of mine saw a gun at the store that was labeled as the "most quiet gun". Is this correct English or is it more correct to say, the "quietest gun"?


2 Answers 2


Short Answer: Quietest sounds better to me, but both are grammatically correct.

Long Answer: For comparatives and superlatives (-er and -est, respectively) forms of words, always use most for words with words for three or more syllables. For words with one syllable, always use -est. Two-syllable words can vary, some with only one correct comparative or superlative but others where both are acceptable. Quiet is a word where both forms are acceptable.

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/forming-comparative-and-superlative-adjectives-american

  • 1
    That’s not the unlikeliest rule I’ve ever read, but it’s still not quiet correct.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 23:35
  • 1
    Your source doesn't back up your assertion. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 15:02
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth They must have changed it on me since I posted my answer. I've updated the link. Thanks for letting me know. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 15:08
  • Thank you. Always be careful when using Oxford comics. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 15:38
  • You may have updated the link but your source still does not back up your assertion. The word 'quietest' is found nowhere on the page you've linked to. Can you copy and paste the source, into your answer next time? Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 7:27

Since quiet is a two-syllable adjetive, the rule-of-thumb would make more quiet and most quiet the expected comparative forms; however, quietest and quieter are six-times more common (or, as many would say, "commoner." Both forms are correct, but the single-word construction is what the American ear expects to hear.

  • “The funnier the post, the tireder I get.”
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 0:33

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