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  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    I read the following from a book (Grammar In Action-Rosalind Fergusson):

    In England, the winter is the coldest season of the year. It is warmer in the spring. The countryside also looks nicer then. The weather is even hotter in the summer.The tress are prettiest in the auturmn, when their leaves change colour.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In superlative forms, we usually use "the -est. Why didn't the author use "the prettiest" in the above sentence?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    I read the following from a book (Grammar In Action-Rosalind Fergusson):

    In England, the winter is the coldest season of the year. It is warmer in the spring. The countryside also looks nicer then. The weather is even hotter in the summer.The trees are prettiest in the auturmn, when their leaves change colour.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In superlative forms, we usually use "the -est. Why didn't the author use "the prettiest" in the above sentence?

    Thanks.
    The article is optional. I prefer it without.

  3. #3
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    The article is optional. I prefer it without.
    Thanks, bhai.

    Can I say "In England, the winter is coldest season of the year."?

  4. #4
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Thanks, bhai.

    Can I say "In England, the winter is coldest season of the year."?
    No, that construction doesn't work.

  5. #5
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    The article is optional. I prefer it without.
    In what situations can we omit "the" before "-est"?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Winwin2011; 29-Sep-2013 at 19:06.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Winter is the coldest season. --"the coldest season" -- the superlative comes before a noun.
    It is coldest in the winter -- no modified noun comes after "coldest"

    The tree are prettiest in the autumn. -- no noun comes after "prettiest"
    This is the prettiest tree in my yard. -- "the prettiest tree" -- the superlative comes before a noun.

    I'm honestly not sure if this pattern works across the board, but we can try a few more to see if it holds true.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #7
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Mary and Barbara are both tall, but Barbara's the tallest.

    Is the article optional? Thanks for your help.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Mary and Barbara are both tall, but Barbara's the tallest.

    Is the article optional? Thanks for your help.
    It's optional here. But you have only two people. "Barbara is [the] taller". That is, you use the comparative for two.
    But here is another point to consider.

    "Mary, Jane and Barbara are all pretty."
    "Mary is [the] prettiest."
    "Barbara is prettiest in summer." This is ambiguous. It could mean that, in summer, Barbara is prettier than Mary or that, in summer, Barbara is prettier than she is in other seasons. Saying "Barbara is the prettiest in summer" tends to suggest the former.
    "Barbara is at her prettiest in summer" means the latter.

  9. #9
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    [QUOTE=Raymott;1015264]It's optional here. But you have only two people. "Barbara is [the] taller". That is, you use the comparative for two.

    Thanks, Raymott.

    Do we use the superlative form in informal spoken English? For example, Which of these two mobile phones do you think is the best.

  10. #10
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: The tress are prettiest in the auturmn

    Yes, you'll hear that all the time. Even people who should know better say things like 'Arsenal were the best team on the day' when only two teams were playing.

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