2

My professor told me famous can't be used with most, because famous is already superlative, just as brilliant or excellent is . But I wonder if his speaking is true. Hope some native speaker will help me !

5
  • 3
    So if I give you the names of three movie actors and want to ask, of the three, whose fame is greatest, I wouldn't ask "Who is most famous?"?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 2:48
  • 2
    That is probably not the truest thing your professor ever said.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 3:25
  • 1
    It may confuse some non-native English speakers that many words of this sort do not accept the "-er" and "-est" suffixes. I.e., it's not correct to say that Jack Jones is "famouser" than Jim Jenkins. But this doesn't prohibit the use of "more" and "most" with such words.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 3:26
  • 1
    Your professor is a professor of chemistry or history, I hope, and not a professor of English.
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 23:30
  • "The most brilliant star in our sky is of course the Sun". "Most excellent" will possibly make people think of Bill & Ted though... Commented Feb 15 at 20:53

1 Answer 1

4

First of all, your professor is wrong in saying that famous is already superlative. If he thinks so then ask him, what are the Positive and Comparative forms of the adjective famous? Obviously, he won't have any answer because famous in itself is a positive adjective.

Also, if I say "He is a famous YouTuber.", you don't know how famous he is. Is he 'more famous' than PewDiePie? Is he the 'most famous' YouTuber in the locality? Is he the 'most' famous Youtuber in the world? Look! 'Famous' has so many levels. It's not like how we use Good-Better-Best. If I say "Messi is the best footballer", then he is the best footballer, and he is better than all other players in the world.

Again, if I said, "Johnny is the most famous Youtuber", then this means no Youtuber is more famous then Johnny.

Even Wiktionary says so:

Adjective

famous (comparative more famous, superlative most famous)

Well known. In the public eye.

"Some people are only famous within their city."

I hope you and your professor have a good talk over this now :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.