superlative adjective without a following noun

superlative adjective without a following noun

Point 58 in the category of Adjectives in the English Grammar Profile

ELLIPSIS with an increasing range of superlative adjectives without a following noun, when the noun is understood.

An increasing range is demonstrated by their following examples with POS and punctuation to extend into iWeb corpus:

the_AT most_RGT embarrassing_JJ ._.
the_AT greatest_JJT ._.
the_AT worst_JJT ._.

“The most embarrassing” is not located in the top 100, so probably a poor choice as an example of what vocabulary choices to learn.

In green is what would make sense to teach to an upper-intermediate class:

1 THE MOST IMPORTANT . 7596

2 THE MOST COMMON . 4959

A further search for 5 collocates to the left of “the most common.”:
1 ARE (VBR ) 1805


2 BEING (VBG ) 623


3 FAR (RR22 ) 228


4 PROBABLY (RR ) 163


5 AMONG (II ) 144

3 THE MOST POPULAR . 4887

4 THE MOST EFFECTIVE . 2511

5 THE MOST EXPENSIVE . 2468

6 THE MOST VULNERABLE . 1490

“The most vulnerable” would be best for a more advanced student.

7 THE MOST HIGH . 1478
8 THE MOST DIFFICULT . 1312
9 THE MOST FUN . 1148
10 THE MOST INTERESTING . 1127
11 THE MOST SUCCESSFUL . 1036
12 THE MOST POWERFUL . 945
13 THE MOST RECENT . 879
14 THE MOST DANGEROUS . 855
15 THE MOST USEFUL . 852
16 THE MOST BEAUTIFUL . 798
17 THE MOST FAMOUS . 775
18 THE MOST COMFORTABLE . 753
19 THE MOST CHALLENGING . 745
20 THE MOST EFFICIENT . 739
21 THE MOST ACCURATE . 697
22 THE LEAST EXPENSIVE . 673
23 THE MOST REWARDING . 643
24 THE MOST GOOD . 611
25 THE MOST VALUABLE . 593
26 THE MOST SIGNIFICANT . 576
27 THE MOST OBVIOUS . 572
28 THE MOST MEMORABLE . 567
29 THE MOST RELIABLE . 528
30 THE MOST HELPFUL . 523
31 THE MOST APPROPRIATE . 497
32 THE MOST IMPRESSIVE . 480
33 THE MOST PROMINENT . 472
34 THE MOST LIKELY . 445
35 THE MOST COMPLEX . 435
36 THE MOST VERSATILE . 434
37 THE MOST CRITICAL . 410
38 THE MOST EXCITING . 403
39 THE MOST AFFORDABLE . 400
40 THE MOST CONVENIENT . 359
41 THE MOST PRODUCTIVE . 354
42 THE MOST BENEFICIAL . 335
43 THE MOST INFLUENTIAL . 317
44 THE MOST ATTRACTIVE . 316
45 THE MOST PREVALENT . 311
46 THE LEAST IMPORTANT . 305
47 THE MOST SERIOUS . 300
48 THE MOST ACTIVE . 297
49 THE MOST NOTABLE . 284
50 THE MOST PROFITABLE . 281
51 THE MOST SEVERE . 274
52 THE MOST DESIRABLE . 264
53 THE MOST SUITABLE . 264
54 THE MOST ADVANCED . 259
55 THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL . 255
56 THE MOST AFFECTED . 253
57 THE MOST PROMISING . 234
58 THE MOST RELEVANT . 232
59 THE MOST ENJOYABLE . 228
60 THE MOST DURABLE . 227
61 THE MOST UNIQUE . 226
62 THE MOST POTENTIAL . 223
63 THE MOST PRACTICAL . 221
64 THE MOST CRUCIAL . 213
65 THE MOST STABLE . 205
66 THE MOST SECURE . 200
67 THE MOST WELL-KNOWN . 198
68 THE MOST ECONOMICAL . 196
69 THE MOST COMPETITIVE . 195
70 THE MOST INTRIGUING . 191
71 THE MOST COMPLICATED . 189
72 THE MOST CURRENT . 184
73 THE MOST SENSITIVE . 183
74 THE MOST APPEALING . 181
75 THE MOST ACCESSIBLE . 179
76 THE MOST PROBLEMATIC . 179
77 THE MOST AGGRESSIVE . 172
78 THE MOST SPECTACULAR . 168
79 THE MOST COSTLY . 167
80 THE MOST COMPELLING . 167
81 THE MOST BASIC . 166
82 THE MOST SATISFYING . 166
83 THE MOST CONSISTENT . 165
84 THE MOST ENTERTAINING . 158
85 THE MOST INTENSE . 158
86 THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD . 157
87 THE LEAST EFFECTIVE . 156
88 THE MOST POTENT . 156
89 THE MOST FRUSTRATING . 153
90 THE MOST PAINFUL . 153
91 THE MOST NATURAL . 152
92 THE MOST USED . 150
93 THE MOST CREATIVE . 148
94 THE MOST VISIBLE . 144
95 THE MOST SURPRISING . 143
96 THE MOST MERCIFUL . 141
97 THE MOST DRAMATIC . 141
98 THE MOST DELICIOUS . 139
99 THE MOST ESSENTIAL . 137
100 THE MOST FASCINATING . 135

1 THE BEST . 117807

2 THE WORST . 21037 (The English Vocabulary Profile lists “worst” as A1 not B2!)

3 THE FULLEST . 7246
4 THE LATEST . 5531

5 THE GREATEST . 4533 (The English Vocabulary Profile lists “great” as A1 not B2!)

6 THE SLIGHTEST . 4383

Slight is B2 vocabulary so would make a good choice for that level.

7 THE LOWEST . 4216
8 THE HIGHEST . 3864
9 THE EARLIEST . 3756
10 THE HARDEST . 3752
11 THE LONGEST . 3426
12 THE FASTEST . 3181
13 THE EASIEST . 2527
14 THE LARGEST . 2455
15 THE CHEAPEST . 2453
16 THE STRONGEST . 2028
17 THE BIGGEST . 1906
18 THE SMALLEST . 1387
19 THE OLDEST . 1374
20 THE FITTEST . 1227
21 THE YOUNGEST . 1058
22 THE SIMPLEST . 962
23 THE FUNNIEST . 904
24 THE CLOSEST . 837
25 THE SAFEST . 801
26 THE QUICKEST . 784
27 THE WEAKEST . 767
28 THE POOREST . 763
29 THE BRIGHTEST . 739
30 THE COOLEST . 726
31 THE LOUDEST . 723
32 THE TOUGHEST . 709
33 THE FINEST . 554
34 THE HAPPIEST . 526
35 THE SHORTEST . 523
36 THE SLOWEST . 514
37 THE ARMREST . 455
38 THE HEALTHIEST . 392
39 THE NEWEST . 363
40 THE HEAVIEST . 354
41 THE PRETTIEST . 338
42 THE BUSIEST . 337
43 THE LIGHTEST . 337
44 THE SWEETEST . 327
45 THE HOTTEST . 327
46 THE FARTHEST . 316
47 THE NICEST . 307
48 THE RICHEST . 305
49 THE CUTEST . 293
50 THE BACKREST . 292
51 THE FURTHEST . 284
52 THE HEADREST . 283
53 THE SMARTEST . 283
54 THE RAREST . 263
55 THE ELDEST . 261
56 THE DEEPEST . 238
57 THE TALLEST . 236
58 THE WEALTHIEST . 213
59 THE CLEANEST . 211
60 THE DARKEST . 207
61 THE SCARIEST . 188
62 THE COLDEST . 182
63 THE WARMEST . 167
64 THE QUIETEST . 162
65 THE SMOOTHEST . 156
66 THE SHARPEST . 146
67 THE STRANGEST . 146
68 THE WIDEST . 145
69 THE SOFTEST . 143
70 THE TASTIEST . 138
71 THE TRICKIEST . 134
72 THE DRIEST . 128
73 THE THINNEST . 123

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