My partner always makes statements such as those in heading. They are always sensationalised to create emphasis and drive home his enthusiasm for the subject. For example we were discussing Florence in Italy and he said “probably the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen in my life!”

I’m curious to know if there’s a linguistic explanation for these kinds of declarations.

  • In all languages, speakers use shortcuts. Chocolate with hazelnut cream? The best. Mar 19 at 2:02
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    Best and most beautiful and greatest and even the colloquial best-est are known as superlative adjectives. Mar 19 at 2:32
  • Predictable, meaningless introductory constructions, like that is, are often deleted by rule, precisely because they are predictable and meaningless. Mar 19 at 2:45
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    Which part of the declaration are you looking to have explained? The exaggeration? The deletion of "that is/was"? The syntax of the phrase?
    – alphabet
    Mar 19 at 3:44
  • It’s often referred to as hyperbole. Mar 19 at 21:08