19 Jun 2015

Best

The word 'best' can be a grammatical nightmare for some learners, especially in some more complex structures. Best acts as an adjective, adverb, noun and verb. Moreover, there are some fixed phrased with 'best' which one has to learn by heart.

Adjective
Good - Better - Best 

In this sense, the best means to have the highest qualities of something.
As an adjective, it modifies a noun.
She was the best cook in the family.
You are my best friend.
the best film of the year
the best time for planting
He donned his best suit.
In these cases 'best' is modified either by a definite article 'the' or a pronoun.

Adjective (according to a dictionary better)
Well - Better - Best 

In the sense healthy or wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable.
He thought it best not to respond.
Your parents only want what is best for you.
It's best (= it is wise) to get to the supermarket early.

Adverb (according to a dictionary better)
Well - Better - Best

The meanings: in a most excellent way or manner, or from a position of superiority or authority, or it would be sensible.
As an adverb, it modifies a verb and does not need another modifier.
This dress suits me best.
Which evening would suit you best for the party?
The Grand Canyon is best seen at sunset.
He couldn't decide which one he liked best (= preferred).
He played best after a couple of martinis.
father knows best
you'd best stay at home

Noun

Best (only singular form) - the people or things with the highest qualities in a group.
Usually takes a definite article THE, and takes a slot of a noun or a noun phrase.
He could beat the best of them.

Another meaning is the supreme effort one can make.
He made his best.

Verb

To best - to defeat someone (formal).
He bested his opponent in just two rounds.
The goal was to best the competition.

Some idioms/fixed phrases:

had best UK
used to suggest an action or to show that it is necessary:
You had best tell her (= it would be wise if you told her) that you won't be able to come to her party.
We'd best be going now (= we should go now).

at best
even when considered in the most positive way:
The food was bland at best, and at worst completely inedible.

at its best
at the highest standard that can be achieved:
The documentary was an example of investigative journalism at its best.

be at your best
to be as active or intelligent as you can be:
I'm not at my best in the morning.

best of all
this is the most pleasing thing:
There was wonderful food, good company, and, best of all, a jazz band.

1 comments:

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