Can we use superlative when we are talking about 2 or more items? I'm not quite sure about that since the rule says: "Superlative adjectives are used to describe an object which is at the upper or lower limit of a quality".

I wanted to figure out this before talking to my student who wrote the following sentence:"Only a few games are the most popular in the world".

  • 2
    Yes: 'The best things in life are free'. Wherever you got your 'rule' from, send it back and get the correct version (though arguably it's incomplete, not totally erroneous). However, using a quantified expression directly with the superlative set ("Only a few games are the most popular in the world"; "Many/few paintings are the most expensive"; "A dozen breeds are the fiercest") doesn't sound right at all. Contrast "These games are the most popular in the world"; "Di Maggio's paintings are the most expensive"; "A dozen breeds of dog, listed in Doggypedia, are considered to be the fiercest". Oct 12, 2016 at 16:31
  • @Edwin is correct. It's a good example of how well-meaning rules can confuse people when they claim to cover all uses. There are always exceptions, usually due to overgeneralization on the part of the rule-writer. Oct 12, 2016 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


Your question is based unfortunately on a badly-worded law; I would opt for Merriam-Webster's definition:

The form of an adjective or adverb that is used to indicate the greatest degree of a particular quality

The following examples (from this thread) are all cases in which plural objects are used with superlatives:

Basketball players are among the tallest men in the world.
She is one of the richest women in the world

  • I really appreciate your prompt answer! Thank you. Oct 12, 2016 at 18:38
  • @TanyaSolovianchyk You're welcome! If you want to accept or up-vote the answer, it will show that you have agreed with this answer and it stops the question from being bumped up as if it were unanswered. Oct 12, 2016 at 19:05

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