Learn how to form the Spanish superlative with -ísimo
When we want to say "extremely [adjective/adverb]" in Spanish, we sometimes use the endings -ísimo, -ísima, -ísimos, -ísimas, as an alternative to muy, super, realmente; for example: muy caro, super caro, realmente caro, carísimo.
Spanish superlative of adjectives that end in a single vowel
Read and listen to these examples:
Mi mejor amigo Adrián es listísimo.My best friend Adrian is very clever. (adjective: listo)
María es lentísima haciendo los deberes.Maria is extremely slow doing her homework. (adjective: lento)
Los conciertos de la calle son ruidosísimos.Street concerts are the noisiest. (adjective: ruidoso)
Aquí venden unas pulseras carísimas.Here they sell extremely expensive bracelets. (adjective: caro)
La profesora nueva es inteligentísima.The new teacher is really intelligent. (adjective: inteligente)
If the adjective ends in a single vowel, the vowel is removed and replaced by -ísimo, -ísima, -ísimos or -ísimas.
However, note this exception: adjectives that end in -ble, despite having a single vowel -e at the end, follow a different rule, see Spanish superlatives -ísimo with adjectives ending in -co, -go, -ble,-z, -or and -n.
Spanish superlative of adjectives that end in -io
If the adjective ends in -io, then both vowels are removed and replaced by -ísimo, -ísima, -ísimos or -ísimas.
Tienes que lavar tu coche; está sucísimo.You have to clean your car; it's extremely dirty. (adjective: sucio)
Nos hemos comprado un apartamento con un salón amplísimo.We've bought an apartment with an extremely spacious living room. (adjective: amplio)
Las instalaciones del hotel están limpísimas.The hotel facilities are extremely clean. (adjective: limpio)
Mis dos cuñados son serísimos.My two brothers-in-law are extremely serious. (adjective: serio)
Mis dos cuñados son seriecísimos.My two brothers-in-law are extremely serious. (adjective: serio)
As you can see in the last examples above, the adjective "serio" (serious) admits two different superlatives: serísimo and seriecísimo
Spanish superlative of adjectives that end in -l and -ar
If the adjective ends in -l or -ar, the superlative suffix is simply added to the end of the word (no letters are removed).
Este ejercicio me parece dificilísimo.I find this exercise extremely difficult. (adjective: difícil)
Las preguntas del examen eran facilísimas.The questions in the exam were extremely easy.
Tenemos unos empleados lealísimos.We have some extremely loyal employees. (adjective: leal)
Esos chicos son vulgarísimos. Están siempre diciendo palabrotas.Those boys are extremely vulgar. They're always swearing. (adjective: vulgar)
Esta canción fue popularísima en los años 90.This song was extremely popular in the 90s. (adjective: popular)
Spanish superlative of some adverbs
We can also form the superlative of some adverbs with the suffix -ísimo. As adverbs, the form is invariable, so there is no agreement with any noun; we take the adverb, omit the last vowel and add the suffix -ísimo
lento = slow/slowly
Mi abuela camina lentísimo porque le duelen las rodillas.My grandma walks really slowly because her knees hurt.
rápido = fast/quickly
Cristina conduce rapidísimo.Cristina drives really fast.
tarde = late
¡Habéis llegado tardísimo!You're very late! [lit: arrived]
temprano = early
Mi padre siempre se levanta tempranísimo.My dad always gets up really early.
suave = soft/softly
Habla suavísimo al bebé.Speak to the baby very softly.
Bear in mind there are some exceptions/irregularities; for example:
cerca = close/near
- ¿Te acompaño a casa? -No es necesario; vivo cerquísima.-Shall I walk you home? -No need; I live really close.
the superlative form keeps the -a at the end. There is also a consonant change to keep the original sound [k]: c > qu
lejos = far
Ellos viven lejísimos del centro.They live really far from the centre.
the superlative form keeps the -s at the end.
If the adjective or adverb has a written accent [´], when we form the superlative, the original accent is lost and always placed on the í from ísimo, -a, -os, -as.
rápido -> rapidísimo, fácil -> facilísimo
All superlatives using this suffix have a written accent.
Also bear in mind that some superlatives that come from adjectives containing -ue or -ie may also use a form that imitates the latin origin of the adjective:
fuerte, fortísimo/fuertísimostrong, extremely strong
cierto, certísimo/ciertísimocertain, extremely certain
nuevo, novísimo/nuevísimonew, extremely new
The form that imitates the latin one is perceived as a more educated form, but both are valid.
The only form accepted for the superlative of "antiguo" is the one keeping the latin form, using -qu:
antiguo, antiquísimoold, extremely old
To learn about other irregular superlatives see Spanish superlatives -ísimo with adjectives ending in -co, -go, -ble,-z, -or and -n
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