Back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution, but I haven’t written about it, just in case it turned out to be like so many other resolutions that last only until someone puts chocolates on the table.
Fortunately, my resolution wasn’t about chocolates. It was about superlatives.
To put all of this in a grammatical context, we have, generally speaking, three levels of comparison -- good, better, and best.
One: this is good. No comparison involved.
Two: the comparative -- this is better.
Three, the superlative: this is best. Or worst, in some cases. Ideally, again, of a number of known choices. The highest score among a specific group of competitors. The fastest time in a particular high school’s track meet. The lowest temperature this winter.
But that’s not Donald Trump’s style. He chronically uses what I think of as absolute superlatives. Asserting, for example, that he was “the greatest president ever.” Or that something was the “worst trade deal ever made.” Or that Islamic terrorism is “the greatest threat the U.S. has ever faced.”