intensifier or superlative?

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intensifier or superlative?

Post by azz » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:27 am

a. Most interesting was what we saw on the third day of our stay in Madrid.
b. What was most interesting was what we saw on the third day of our stay in Madrid.
c. What we saw on the third day of our stay in Madrid was most interesting.


In which of the above sentences:
'Most' means 'extremely
and in which:
We have a real superlative ?


Many thanks.
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Re: intensifier or superlative?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:25 pm

a) = superlative

c) = intensifier

b) = could be either, depending on context (or tone of voice, if spoken).
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Re: intensifier or superlative?

Post by Phil White » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:54 pm

Instinctively, I would agree with what Erik said, but, as always, no definitive answer can be given without the discourse context.

I cannot think of a context in which a) could be anything but a superlative.
b) is certainly ambiguous
c) could also be either. As Erik says, it is most likely to be an intensifier. but:
"We saw plenty of interesting things in Spain. What we saw on the third day of our stay in Madrid was most interesting."
The addition of "the" ("the most interesting") confirms that interpretation.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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