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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.

Biggest and Smallest