Superlative is a literary device that is generally an adjective or adverb that is used to distinguish an object from three or more others of its kind. The superlative is used in both literary and scientific writing to emphasize certain objects, people, places or events, which have unique or extraordinary attributes. The superlative term can only be applied when comparing three or more objects. Here are some common examples of the superlative.
My cousin is the tallest among the giants
Ellen DeGeneres gave the funniest commencement speech in the history of our university
What do you think is the most difficult language to learn?
Superlative and adjective It is important to note here that superlatives should not be confused with comparative adjectives and adverbs. Verbs compare two objects, while the superlative comparison is between three or more objects.
Examples of the superlative in literature
Example # 1: King Lear, second act, scene 3 (by William Shakespeare)
"As long as I can escape,
I will preserve myself: and it has been thought to me that
take the vilest and poorest form,
than ever misery, in contempt of man,
brought the beast closer. "
Just look at the words in bold. Here, the double superlative has been used by Shakespeare.
Example # 2: Song (By John Donne)
" The sweetest love! I'm not going
Because of your weariness,
Nor in the hope that the world can show
A love for me ... "
John Donne employed some of the most beautiful uses of superlatives in his famous poems, such as the one given here:" Sweetest Love ".
Example # 3: A Fever (By John Donne)
" Or if when, the soul of the world, goes
It stays, then it is nothing more than your corpse,
The most beautiful woman but your ghost,
But corrupt worms men more worthy. ”
Words in bold are two superlative examples.
Example # 4: I love you the most purple (By Barbara M. Joosse)
" Mom, who has more worms? " she asked. Mom smiled. "Max, your can is full of the liveliest worms.
And Julian, your can has the juiciest."
Barbara M. Joosse has used some beautiful examples of superlatives in her “I Love You the Purplest.
Example # 5: Underground Gothic (by Paul Theroux)
“ It has the longest trips of any subway in the world, the biggest stations, the fastest trains, the most tracks, the most passengers, the most police officers. It also has the dirtiest trains, the weirdest graffiti, the loudest wheels, the craziest passengers, the wildest crimes. "
Paul Theroux, in" Subterranean Gothic, "makes a very interesting use of the superlative, as can be seen in this paragraph. It is turning out to be the most beautiful, calmest, largest, most generous and domed summer I have ever seen or known: an inordinately blue blue, with greener leaves and taller trees than I can remember, and the sound from lawn mowers. All over this valley is a sound that I could hum forever. ”
Another fun example of superlatives can be found in Nicholson Baker's The Anthologist, as shown in the excerpt above.
A superlative is used to indicate an extreme or insurmountable level of emotion, association, or hatred for an object or person, or even an event. In literature, in particular, it is used to show the best or the worst of something, to add color or romance to a literary piece.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw