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How to Express Superlatives and Make Comparisons with American Sign Language

In English, you sometimes form words that compare by adding endings, such as “est” or “er.” In American Sign Language (ASL), you can't really sign comparatives and superlatives. For example, greatest is signed simply as GREAT, and happier is signed HAPPY.

However, you can compare objects another way, using sign. After you decide which base word you want to use, sign it and then add one of the words from this table — whichever one is the most appropriate.


These sentences provide examples of signing superlatives:

  • English: His coat is the warmest.

    Sign: HIS COAT — WARM — TOP

  • English: Your shoes are the ugliest.



Comparing costs is a pretty common thing to do. Here’s how to sign the better bargain:

  • If you’re at the store, you can always point to what you’re referring to; this way, you can avoid fingerspelling.

  • To sign that you found the cheapest or most expensive item, simply sign CHEAP or EXPENSIVE, and then sign the word TOP. You can also sign CHEAP or EXPENSIVE, and then sign BETTER.

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