The Superlative  

Making Comparisons Absolute Superlative

"As ... as" and "so ... as" are translated "tan ... como," "as much ... as" and "so much ... as" are translated "tanto-a,-os-as ... como" or "cuanto."
N.B.:Cuan may be used instead of como before an adjective as:
  • Tan razonable en precio cuan apreciado por la buena calidad: As reasonable in price as it is appreciated for its good quality.

"The more ... the more" is translated "cuanto más ... tanto más"; also "más ... más" (without the article).

"Than whom," "than which" is translated as follows:

  • Sedas floreadas italianas que no las hay mejores en el mercado: Italian flowered silks, than which there are no better on the market.

Adjectives ending in io (not ío) drop the whole diphthong before adding ísimo, as:

  • Amplio--Amplísimo (very ample).
  • EXCEPT Agrio--Agriísimo (very sour).

Those ending in "z" change of course the "z" into c, as:

  • Feliz--felicísimo[1] (very happy).
Footnote 1: "Z" should not occur before "e" and "i" in modern Spanish.]
The irregular superlatives óptimo, pésimo, máximo, mínimo, ínfimo and supremo are used very sparingly, but they are found both as superlative absolute and superlative relative, as:
  • Esta es una cantidad ínfima: It is an infinitesimal amount.
  • El precio mínimo[2]: The minimum price.
Footnote 2: Although improperly, we often find "más mínimo" (más ínfimo, etc.).]
  • El supremo bien de la vida es hacer á otros felices: The highest blessing of life is to make others happy.

The irregular comparatives mejor and peor are in general use.

Mayor and menor refer more generally to age (older, elder, and younger).

Inferior and superior are generally used as their English equivalents.

The expressions "a larger building," "a higher tree," etc., are generally rendered "un edificio más grande," "un árbol más alto," etc.

Irregular superlatives:
Amigo (Amicísimo) - friendly
Antiguo (Antiquísimo) - ancient
Áspero (Aspérrimo) - harsh
Benéfico (Beneficentísimo) - beneficent
Benévolo (Benevolentísimo) - benevolent
Célebre (Celebérrimo) - celebrated
Fiel (Fidelísimo) - faithful
Íntegro (Integérrimo) - upright
Libre (Libérrimo) - free
Magnífico (Magnificentísimo) - magnificent
Mísero (Misérrimo) - miserable
Munífico (Munificentísimo) - munificent
Pobre (Paupérrimo, and Pobrísimo) - poor
Sabio (Sapientísimo) - wise
Sagrado (Sacratísimo) - holy
Salubre (Salubérrimo) - healthy
Simple (Simplicísimo) - simple
Ubérrimo - most fruitful
Some of the best modern authors write "buenísimo," "nuevísimo," etc., regularly without substituting the diphthong by the pure vowel, as "bonísimo," "novísimo," notwithstanding the shifting of the stress.
Substantives used as adjectives admit of comparison, as:
  • Es tan caballero or más caballero que sus contrincantes: He is as (or more) gentlemanly as (than) his neighbours (competitors).

"Than" followed by a number, unless the sentence be negative, is translated by de.

"Than" followed by a finite verb is de lo que, as:

  • Cumple más de lo que promete: He accomplishes more than he promises.


  • Hablar Español es más difícil que escribirlo: To speak Spanish is more difficult than to write it.

The following expressions are translated:

  • Él le lleva seis años: He is older than you by six years.
  • Esta tela cuesta cinco peniques menos la yarda: This cloth is cheaper by five pence a yard.
  • Esta casa es diez años más antigua: This firm is older by ten years.
  • Es tan poderoso que domina el mercado: He is so powerful as to control the market.

Popular Phrase: correr future tense | Conjugated Verb: atemperar - mollify [ click for full conjugation ]