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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:

vt. (烹饪时把鱼
Her subjects felt like they were waiting in a long line to reach the top of a hill where the American dream was waiting for them. But the line’s uphill progress had slowed, even stopped. And immigrants, black people and other “outsiders” seemed to be cutting the line.
Ninety percent of the students believe their universities' guidance on entrepreneurship would help their future businesses. In addition, they professed appreciation for policies intended to encourage entrepreneurship.
一位被录取的学生告诉《哈佛深红报》,这些表情包来自哈佛2021届学生的脸书私聊小组,他们在这个群组里分享一些尖酸刻薄的笑话,“被哈佛录取不代表我们就不能开玩笑”。
That's the headline flashing red warnings. After reviewing 20 cycles tracked by 20 other experts, GoldSeek.com concluded: 'There are many cycles that suggest a stock-market correction or crash is near ... Preparation is important. You still have a little time remaining before the 'window' closes!'
Wal-Mart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon

课程安排:周五周六交替上课,入学伊始学员需参加一个为期一周的会议,还有一个为期一周的国际学习研讨会

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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