In language, we often want to compare things and express which is the biggest, smallest, best, highest, etc. There are various rules about how we do this in English, as well as exceptions to those rules, which may lead us to wonder whether it is correct to say “most biggest.”
It is not correct to say “most biggest” because it’s redundant to use the superlative “biggest” together with “most.” We use “most” to create the superlative form of adjectives that cannot take the suffix -est. Words like “big” that consist of one vowel and end with a consonant simply double the final consonant and add -est.
This article will explore the word “big” and how we express it in degrees of comparison. We’ll consider when we use the suffix -est and when we use “most” to express a superlative. We’ll also look more broadly at comparatives and superlative adjectives in English.
What Does “Biggest” Mean?
“Biggest” is the superlative form of the adjective “big.” “Big” usually means large in size, but it can have other meanings, too, the most common of which we’ve summarized in the table below (source).
|Of large dimensions||That is a big house.|
|Very enthusiastic||I am a big fan of the Yankees.|
|Of great importance or pre-eminence||The big issue we are facing is poverty.|
|Older||Andrew is my big brother.|
|Very popular||Chocolate is big in Belgium.|
The word “big” dates back as far as the 14th century, when linguists believed it originated from the Scandinavian “bugge.” By the late 1400s, English speakers used it in everyday language to mean “large” as well as “important” or “powerful” (source).
If you are comparing two items, you could say that one is bigger than the other. This would be the comparative form of the word “big.”
However, if you are comparing three or more items, then you could say that one is the biggest. This is the superlative form of the word “big” and means that this one is the largest of the items you’re comparing.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Most Biggest”?
It is not grammatically correct to say “most biggest” because we use either “most” or -est to create the superlative form of adjectives. Single syllable adjectives almost always take -est while we usually use “most” with words of two or more syllables.
The modifier “most” works to modify nouns, as an adverb, or to create the superlative form. When functioning as the latter, we often place “the most” before an adjective of two syllables and almost always with adjectives with more syllables — with some specific exceptions. Consider the examples below:
- Sarah is the most athletic of the three sisters.
- Jack is the most talented mathematician I have ever met.
- Shrews are one of the most diminutive mammals.
In these examples, “the most” simply precedes the adjective (athletic, talented, or diminutive) to create the superlative form. If we used single-syllable adjectives with similar meanings, they could look more like the following:
- Sarah is the biggest of the three sisters.
- Jack is the sharpest mathematician I have ever met.
- Shrews are one of the smallest mammals.
As you will see, we never say “most biggest,” “most sharpest,” or “most smallest” because this would be using two forms of the superlative and would, therefore, be incorrect.
How Do You Use “Biggest”?
We use the word “biggest” as an adjective to describe a noun. Because it is superlative, it describes that of a group of objects, referring to that object that most exhibits the qualities of being “big.” We could use “biggest” in the context of any of the meanings of “big” we’ve discussed above.
When we use the superlative form, we will often precede it with “the,” as we’ve shown in the examples below.
- This is the biggest gift I’ve ever received.
- Evan is the kindest of my uncles.
- Jane is the most capable seamstress in the group.
However, the superlative form doesn’t always have to have “the” before it. Sometimes, we may use other determiners or none at all. Consider the sentences below.
- Ally is my biggest supporter.
- His album’s popularity is biggest in the mid-West.
- What is her biggest fear?
Usually, if we use a superlative adjective before the noun, then we will use either “the” before it or a possessive such as “my” or “her.” We can more easily drop “the” when the adjective appears later in the sentence.
When Can You Use “Biggest”?
We use the word “biggest” any time we want to communicate that, of the group of items we are discussing, this one exhibits the qualities of being “big” the most. We can only use it when there are at least three (or more) items we’re comparing.
We can use “biggest” in any tense and with any noun we can describe in terms of size or any of the other definitions of “big.” It’s a very common word and one that people often use in everyday conversation.
It’s a useful adjective, especially in communicating size, because it quickly describes that something is the largest of the group we’re discussing. All superlative adjectives work when we are talking about something in comparison or in relation to others like it.
In What Context Can You Use “Biggest”?
You can only use “biggest” when describing something in comparison to something else and saying that this one is the most extreme form of being “big.” We must be referring to at least three or more items to use “biggest” correctly.
We can use “biggest” in the context of any of the meanings we discussed above. Consider the examples below that illustrate the various meanings of “biggest.”
|Of large dimensions||This is the biggest house on the street|
|Very enthusiastic||I am the Yankees’ biggest fan.|
|Of great importance or pre-eminence||The biggest issue we are facing is poverty.|
|Older||Andrew is the biggest of my brothers.|
|Very popular||Chocolate is biggest in Belgium.|
Using “Biggest” in a Full Sentence
We often use “biggest” to describe items, so there are numerous examples of using this superlative adjective in a full sentence. Consider some of the examples below.
- My biggest regret is that I never got to know my grandfather.
- The blue whale is the world’s biggest animal.
- The biggest market for our products is in China.
- On which beach will we find the biggest shells?
“Biggest” always functions to describe the noun, so we usually place it before the noun that it describes, like most adjectives. However, sometimes we can turn the sentence around to place the adjective at the end, as in the examples below.
- Of all my sweatshirts, this one is the biggest.
- I have many regrets, but this is the biggest.
When Not to Use “Biggest”
We shouldn’t use “biggest” unless we compare at least three things. We also shouldn’t use “biggest” if the item we describe is not “big” in any of the contexts we’ve already discussed.
If the person or thing we are describing is not bigger than all the rest, we shouldn’t choose the word “biggest.” Sometimes, there are better words to choose that describe what we are trying to say more precisely.
What Can You Use Instead of “Biggest”?
Instead of biggest, many words can convey the same message, and many of them are more descriptive than simply being “big.” For example, depending on the context for using “biggest,” you could choose any of the following words.
- Most substantial
- Most enormous
- Most extensive
- Most spacious
- Most far-reaching
- Most popular
- Most successful
- Most powerful
- Most prominent
- Most distinguished
Adjectives describe or quantify nouns and pronouns. Comparative and superlative adjectives allow us to compare things and describe how much of a particular quality they have. Comparative adjectives compare one thing with another, while superlative adjectives describe a group of three or more things (source).
We use comparative adjectives to compare two things. They usually appear in sentences that look similar to the examples below:
- My sister is taller than me.
- I’m better at sports than music.
- The blue ball is bigger than the green one.
We use “than” to show the comparison unless the information implies it in the sentence, such as the examples below:
- My sister is already 50, but my brother is older. (“than her” is implied)
- These ice creams are both big, but the chocolate one is bigger.
- Music doesn’t interest me; I’m much better at sports.
We use superlative adjectives to describe things in the extreme, such as smallest, largest, tallest shortest, etc. As with comparative adjectives, the sentence either stipulates the group we are comparing to or implies this information.
Consider the following sentences that clearly articulate the group.
- I am the fastest runner in my age group.
- I scored the highest in the class on the recent test.
- This is the biggest pot that I have.
Now consider these examples where the group is implied.
- We raced this morning, and I am the fastest runner.
- I scored the highest on the recent test.
- I searched my kitchen, and this is the biggest pot.
For more information about comparative and superlative adjectives, read our articles “Clearer or More Clear: Understanding the Proper Usage of Degrees of Comparison” or “Cleverer or More Clever: Which Is Correct?” or “Busier or More Busy: Correctly Using the Comparative Form of Busy.”
Creating Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
Changing an adjective into comparative or superlative forms usually depends on how many syllables the base adjective has (source).
For one-syllable adjectives, we usually add -er for comparative forms and -est for superlative forms.
If the base adjective has a single vowel between two consonants (such as “big,” “hot,” etc.), then we double the second consonant before adding these suffixes, as we’ve shown below. If the word ends in an “e,” we add just an -r for the comparative form and -st for the superlative form.
- Big → bigger → biggest
- Hot → hotter → hottest
- Sad → sadder → saddest
- Rich → richer → richest
- Ripe → riper → ripest
For comparative adjectives, we either add the suffix -er or use “more” before the adjective. For superlative adjectives, we either add the suffix -est or use “most” before the adjective.
There’s no absolute rule to follow with these adjectives, so you just have to learn which is appropriate and sounds right. If in doubt, it’s always safer to use “more” and “most” because it won’t be wrong, even if it can sound awkward. For adjectives that end in a -y, you change the “y” to “i” and then add -er or -est.
Consider the examples below.
- Fancy → fancier → fanciest
- healthy → healthier → healthiest
- Gentle → gentler → gentlest
- Broken → more broken → most broken
- Polite → more polite → most polite
Three-Syllable or More Adjectives
With adjectives of three syllables or more, we almost always use “more” and “most.” Consider the examples below.
- Decadent → more decadent → most decadent
- Exciting → more exciting → most exciting
- Important → more important → most important
- Beautiful → more beautiful → most beautiful
- Wonderful → more wonderful → most wonderful
As with all English grammar rules, there are numerous exceptions that you’ll have to learn. Below is a table of some of the most common. This article is written for strategiesforparents.com.
|Base Adjective||Comparative Form||Superlative Form|
Some adjectives simply don’t have a comparative or superlative form. This is because they describe something that is absolute that we can’t compare by degrees. This list includes adjectives such as “dead,” “blind,” “left,” “unique,” “perfect,” and “complete.”
It should be clear now that we cannot say “most biggest” since this would use two superlatives together, which is grammatically incorrect. For a one-syllable word like “big,” we would use “biggest” if we wanted to use the superlative form.
For longer words and some specific exceptions, use “most” before them to create superlative forms.
Using incorrect comparatives and superlatives is common among those learning the English language, but with regular practice, you will soon learn which sounds right and how best to use degrees of comparison.