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Most stupid or stupidest? Rules, and exceptions to them, for comparatives and superlatives

Writing for Business

Which is correct?

Some human engineering efforts are so blatant that they fool only the ________ end users.
a. most stupid
b. stupidest

Answer: b.

Explanation:
The rules are clear on how to form comparatives and superlatives — as long as the adjective or adverb you’re trying to modify has fewer or more than two syllables. For two-syllable words, like “stupid,” the rules get a little murky and sometimes you’re just going to have to rely upon your ear or take your best guess.

The general rule is: For the comparative/superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs, add er/est to one-syllable words and plunk more/most (or less/least) in front of words of two or more syllables. But there are exceptions to every rule and this one has more exceptions than most.

On Grammar Girl, Bonnie Trenga wrote about deciding on whether to add er/est suffixes or add more/most to form the comparative/superlative forms of adjectives. She found a rule for the exceptions to the rule:

Cliff Stevenson, an anti-dumping expert who publishes the report based on data filed with the WTO, said the surge in US cases was driven largely by the steel industry. The increase also represented the range of countries from China to Australia, the UK and the Netherlands against which US companies were willing to file anti-dumping complaints.
伦敦商学院(London Business School,见上图)荣登2014年英国《金融时报》欧洲商学院排行榜榜首,该学院上一次夺得冠军宝座是在2005年。法国巴黎高等商学院(HEC Paris)和西班牙企业商学院(IE Business School)分列二、三位。
目前,大部分围绕比特币的活动都是货币性的,因此,批评者指向其波动性也合乎情理。blockchain.info网站上的市场价格走势图显示,尽管以美元衡量的比特币价值在过去一年缩水了67%,其价值在过去两年则飙升了1879%。因此,投资比特币是好是坏,取决于你的视角。
Countrywide, month-on-month prices rose in 62 out of 70 major cities last month, were unchanged in one and fell in seven.
它们汇聚为卷土重来的民族主义和仇外主义。
Nearly all the entrepreneurs (93 per cent) rated their new skills as important or very important in their decision. “I understand the value of my skills without the ‘fear’ of not being employed,” said one.

其中,由于IT/互联网/通讯/电子行业迅猛发展,吸纳了近三成的2016年应届毕业生。

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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