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Forming the superlative of adjectives in complex cases

Look at these superlative sentences:

Jean est le garçon le plus mignon de l'école.
John is the cutest boy in the school

Jean est le plus mignon garçon de l'école.
John is the cutest boy in the school.

Le Texas est l'état le plus riche des Etats-Unis.
Texas is the richest state in America

Le Texas est le plus riche état des Etats-Unis.
Texas is the richest state in America.



While the simplest superlative forms are quite similar to the English equivalent, but in more complex examples, the word order and prepositions may be different to what you expect:

E.g. Marie est la fille la plus intelligente de la classe (Marie is the smartest girl in the class)

Two things to pay attention to in complex examples like this are:

1. la fille usually appears before la plus whereas in English it's the reverse order. Also see that 'la' appears twice.
2. de la/du/des/ de l' ('of the') always follows the superlative, even when in English we might say 'in'.

Note: you can also say:

Marie est la plus intelligente fille de la classe (Marie is the smartest girl in the class)

 

See also the related Le, la, les plus and le, la, les moins = the most and the least (superlatives of adjectives)

 

Here are other Superlative structures:
Le plus and le moins = the most and the least (superlative of adverbs)
Meilleur, mieux, pire / plus mauvais, plus mal = better, best, worse and worst (irregular comparatives and superlatives)

And Comparative structures:
Plus... plus..., moins... moins... = the more...the more..., the less...the less... (comparisons with phrases)
Better and better, worse and worse = de mieux en mieux, de pire en pire (comparisons)
De plus en plus and de moins en moins = more and more and less and less (comparisons with adjectives, adverbs, verbs)
De plus en plus de and de moins en moins de = more and more and less and less (comparisons of nouns)
Making comparisons with adjectives: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que
Making comparisons with adverbs: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que
Making comparisons with verbs: plus que, autant que, moins que
Making comparisons with nouns: plus de... que, moins de... que, autant de... que

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


Jean est le garçon le plus mignon de l'école.
John is the cutest boy in the school


Jean est le plus mignon garçon de l'école.
John is the cutest boy in the school.


Le Texas est l'état le plus riche des Etats-Unis.
Texas is the richest state in America


Le Texas est le plus riche état des Etats-Unis.
Texas is the richest state in America.


Q&A

Kenneth

Kwiziq community member

1 February 2017

2 replies

BANGS adjectives?

This lesson is kind of confusing me. At school I learned that the superlative must come after the noun unless the adjective would come before the noun, and in that case the placement would be a choice. The French About page on superlatives also states this rule. So wouldn't "Marie est la plus intelligente fille de la classe" be incorrect?

Matthew

Kwiziq community member

2 February 2017

2/02/17

you want bangs? i giv u bangs. i have tons ov crack u want sum?

Aaron

Kwiziq community member

3 April 2017

3/04/17

The video on this lesson page says the same thing, and I've also seen the advice that the placement of the superlative follows the normal placement of the adjective, whether before or after the noun, so I'm also left wondering.

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