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St Gabriel’s Roman Catholic Primary School


Using superlatives: ‘biggest’ and ‘tallest’

Why is this important?
The superlative is the form of the adjective or adverb that expresses ‘most’. The superlative indicates that something has some feature to a ‘greater’ or 'lesser’ degree than anything it is being compared with in a given context (e.g. if shown trains of three different lengths – one will be the longest and one will be the shortest). The grammatical marker ‘est’ is used most commonly.

What to do

  • Gather together groups of objects (e.g. toys which vary in size). You will need at least three of each object – one small, one medium and one large, e.g.

Small, medium and large cups
Small, medium and large pencils
Small, medium and large dolls

  • Put out a set of three items (e.g. the three cups).
  • Point to each corresponding cup in turn, saying: ‘This cup is small, this cup is big and this cup is the…’
  • Can the child fill in the gap and say ‘biggest’ when you pause?
  • Now starting with the biggest cup say: ‘This cup is big, this cup is smaller and this cup is the …’
  • Continue with the other sets of items – the pencils can be ‘short’/‘long’, the dolls can be ‘short’/‘tall’, etc.