Today I will be speaking about the Superlative in Portuguese including some super useful practice examples.
Do you know what the superlative of the adjectives is and what it is used for?
No? No problem…
Just keep reading and you will find all about it!
The Superlative of the Adjectives in European Portuguese
Do you remember when you learnt to compare things? We do it all the time, right? And for that we use adjectives.
- We can say “this man is the thinnest of the room”.
- We can also say the opposite “This man is the least fat of the room”.
- Or, ultimately we can say “That man is super thin!”.
In these examples, in English, we used the Superlative of the adjectives.
We use the Superlative to express a quality in a very high grade or in the maximum grade.
What does this mean?
It means that in the sentence “That man is the thinnest of the room”, thinnest is the highest level we can get for the adjective thin, since there is nothing above it. In this case, no one can be thinner that “the thinnest guy”.
Get the picture?
In the same way, when we say “That man is super thin“, we are also expressing a high level of the adjective. Sure, there might be someone thinner, but it is difficult, because the man is super thin. We are imprinting a high level to the adjective thin without comparing it to other things.
This is what we call Superlative of the adjectives.
But how do we form the superlative of adjectives in Portuguese?
In Portuguese we also have the Superlative and it works more or less in the same way as in English.
Take a look at the following table to see how it works in European Portuguese:
As you can see, besides the difference between being a “high level” or “the maximum level”, adjectives also have different ways of expressing that. In Portuguese we have:
Grau Superlativo Absoluto
We use this when we are intensifying the quality of something or someone, without comparing it with anyone or anything else.
We have two different ways of expressing this Grau Superlativo Absoluto:
The intensification of the adjective is done by adding some suffixes (the adjective stays one single word).
Ex: A menina é belíssima..
What normally happens is that we add the suffixes “-íssimo”, “-imo” or “-érrimo” to the stem of the adjective, like this:
Belo –> Bel –> Belíssimo – The stem is Bel and we added the ending of the Superlative “íssimo”.
In Portugal, the suffix “íssimo” is the most used one.
Note that there are some exceptions of adjectives that form this Superlative in a slight different way. Take a look at some of those adjectives below:
Pobre – Paupérrimo (poor)
Fácil – Facílimo (easy)
Difícil – Dificílimo (difficult)
Some very common verbs you might encounter on your way are:
Bom – Óptimo (Ótimo in the new orthographical agreement – it means good)
Mau – Péssimo (bad)
As you can see, they form the Superlativo Sintético a bit differently.
The intensification of the adjective is done with adverbs like muito.
Ex: A menina é muito bela!
Grau Superlativo Relativo
We use this when we are intensifying the quality of something or someone, by comparing it with someone or something else.
This relation can be of superiority or inferiority, as you can check below:
De Superioridade: We compare something or someone by noting its superiority in relation to other things or people.
Ex: A menina é a mais bela da sala.
De Inferioridade: We compare something or someone by noting its inferiority in relation to other things or people.
Ex: A menina é a menos bela da sala.
(Please do not say this about someone, it is not nice 😉 poor girl!)
Careful with the adjectives
Do not worry, they don’t bite or anything.
I just want you to pay attention that the adjectives always have to come in accordance with the noun.
That means that if the noun is masculine, the adjective will have to come in the masculine form, like in:
- O cão é bonito.
If, on the other hand, we are talking about a flower, and flower is feminine, we have to say:
So, applying the superlative, and if you wanted to say that the dog is the most beautiful one, you would have to say:
- O cão é o mais bonito.
The same way if you wanted to say the same about the flower, you would say:
- A flor é a mais bonita.
Bear in mind that adjectives ending in something else either than “o”, will only change to plural, but not to feminine. So, say, if you want to say that a man is intelligent, you will say:
- O homem é inteligente.
In the same way, and without changing the adjective, you say:
- A mulher é inteligente.
Both man and woman, although from different genders, are “inteligente”. The adjective does not end in “o”, so it does not change. However, if you want to say that both the man and the woman are intelligent, you will have to add the plural ending:
- O homem e a mulher são inteligentes.
So, what do you say?
Was this the nicest post about the Superlative in Portuguese, or not?
This subject is also part of my European Portuguese Master Course. Make sure to check out my online course if you struggle with this (or other) topic(s).
Below, you can test your knowledge.
I added some exercises so you can practice and you can find the solutions, as always, in the materials section.
So, let’s go!
Exercises with the Superlative in Portuguese
1. Choose the right answer:
a – A Maria é muito bonita do que o João.
b – A Maria é muito bonita.
2. Choose the right answer:
a – A Maria é a menos alta da sala.
b – A Maria é a menos alto da sala.
3. Choose the right answer:
a – O teste é dificilíssimo.
b – O teste é dificílimo.
4. Choose the right answer:
a – O café é mauzíssimo.
b – O café é péssimo.
5. Choose the right answer:
a – A mulher é muito inteligenta.
b – A mulher é muito inteligente.
That’s it for today!
Please leave a comment below and let me know if you managed to do the exercises. How many did you get right?
Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask =)