French Superlatives: A Quick Guide

Study French superlatives of adverbs, adjectives, nouns, and verbs.

Start learning for free

I want to learn...

French superlatives or le superlatif is used to express the highest quality or degree (extremes) like biggest, smallest, fastest, slowest, best, worst, etc. Superlatives are used to compare two or more things when one thing comes above another thing.

Superlatives are a great way to express how one thing is different from a bunch of other things of the same kind. It can be used to compare things, ideas, or living beings.

French superlatives

French superlatives or superlatifs are used to indicate the two extremes – superiority or inferiority. As in English, you can compare nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in French as well.

To indicate superiority in English, you say the fastest, or add the word most before it.

For example, the biggest, the fastest, the best, the tastiest, the most important. In French, superiority is expressed by saying le plus .

To indicate inferiority in English, you say the slowest, or the least expensive, for example, the smallest, the slowest, the worst, or the least hungry. With superlatives in French, inferiority is expressed by saying le moins.

It’s easy to learn French when you compare the grammar rules and understand meanings in English. So why does culture matter if all you want to do is speak French? Learn why culture is also an important part of learning a new language.

Want to know the most effective way to learn French?

french superlatives

Learning French superlatives like “le plus” or “the most” is just the start in learning French! With Busuu’s free online courses, you are sure to be on the most efficient and rapid route in learning French!

Superlatives of adverbs

To write superlatives with adverbs, the format of the sentences is as follows:

Superior superlative: le plus + adverb

See the examples below:

  • Pierre parle le plus fort de tous les garçons. (Peter talks the loudest of all the boys.)
  • Jack a sauté le plus haut. (Jack jumped the highest.)

Inferior superlative: le moins + adjectif

See the examples below:

  • Septembre est le mois le moins rentable de l’année. (September is the least profitable month.)
  • J'ai le moins travaillé aujourd'hui. (I did the least work today.)

Superlatives of adjectives

The word plus means most depending on the form of the adjective. Masculine singular adjectives use le plus, and feminine singular adjectives use la plus.

So many rules and exceptions to memorize, but what is the best way to learn? Discover the best way to learn French with our handy guide! To write superlatives with adjectives, the format of the sentences is as follows:

Superior superlative: le / la / les noun le / la plus + adjectif

See the examples below:

  • Cette fleur est la plus belle. (This flower is the most beautiful.)
  • Le guépard est l'animal le plus rapide. (The cheetah is the fastest animal.)

The word moins means least depending on the form of the adjective. Masculine singular adjectives use le moins, and feminine singular adjectives use la moins.

Inferior superlative: le / la / les noun le / la moins + adjectif

See the examples below:

  • Cet arbre est le moins grand. (This tree is the least tall.)
  • La maison est la moins chère. (The house is the least expensive.)

Note that the adjective and article défini (definite articles) like le, la, les, all agree with the noun in the sentence in both gender and quantity.

For adjectives which precede nouns use the following forms:

Superior: le/la plus + adjectif + noun

See the examples below:

  • Marie est la plus intelligente fille de la classe. (Marie is the smartest girl in ‌ class.)
  • Inferior: le/la moins + adjectif + noun

See the example below:

Marie est la fille la moins intelligente de la classe. (Marie is the least intelligent girl in class.)

Want to keep practicing French superlatives?

french superlatives

Whether you are learning French superlatives for work or for your daily conversations, Busuu offers free online courses and bite-sized lessons that will make you use them like a pro in no time!

Superlatives of nouns

When comparing nouns, you need to use the preposition de with the superlative adverbs.

Superior superlative: le plus de + adjectif

For example:

J'ai le plus de bonbons dans mon sac. (I have the most candy in my bag.)

Inferior superlative: le moins de + adjectif

For example:

  • Il a gagné le moins de prix. (He won the least prizes.)
  • Remplissez votre sac avec le moins de livres. (Fill your bag with the least books.)

Superlative of verbs

To compare actions, you use the following structure:

Superior superlative: verbe + le plus

For example:

Mon oncle mange le plus dans notre famille. (My uncle eats the most in our family.)

Inferior superlative: verbe + le moins

For example:

Ma mère mange le moins dans notre famille. (My uncle eats the most in our family.)

Superlative exceptions

Just as you have exceptions to every other rule in French, you also have exceptions to superlatives.

* Bon

The word bon in French means good. In English you do not say the goodest. You say the best. Similarly in French as well, you cannot say le plus bon. You say le meilleur.

You can’t use bon in the superior form but there is an exception within this exception that allows you to say moins bon (less good) in the inferior superlative form.

For example:

  • Mon chien est le meilleur. (My dog is the best.)
  • Ce film est le pire. (This film is the worst.)

* Bien

This word bien means well. For non-French speakers, bon and bien can be confusing in their meaning and use. Bon is an adjective that describes nouns, while bien is an adverb that refers to or modifies verbs.

In its French superlatives, bien becomes le mieux (the best) in the superior form. But like the inferior superlative form for bon, bien in its inferior superlative form is written as moins bien (less well).

For example:

  • Louis parle français le mieux. (Louis speaks French the best.)
  • Louis parle français le moins bien. (Louis speaks French the least well.)

* Petit

Petit, which means small, is written as plus petit when you have a concrete noun in a sentence.

For example:

Ces fleurs sont plus petites que celles-là. (These flowers are smaller than those.)

When an abstract noun is in a sentence, you use moindre.

For example:

Je n'en ai pas la moindre idée. (I do not have the faintest idea.)

Superlatives have a little more rules and exceptions to learn than other grammatical rules, but they are easy to remember once you have them down.

Are you ready to learn more French?

Busuu teaches you all the essentials you need to know to become comfortable with French via free online courses. Don’t wait a day longer and start learning more french today!