If someone asks me: "is that clear enough?" can I answer "it is clearest" or it "Is the clearest"?


If someone ask me: "Is that clear enough?" (in meaning of "do you understand it clearly"?)

can I answer by choosing one of the both answers or should I use one of them?

1) "It is clearest" (without a definite article)


2) "It is the clearest" (with a definite article)

I saw some answers here on ELL and it's not clear enough for me for my specific case to conclude about an answer:

Judicious Allure

Posted 2018-05-04T02:29:32.797

Reputation: 24 598

1By clear, do you mean understood or transparent? Meaning understood cannot be a superlative. – user3169 – 2018-05-04T04:03:00.633

I mean to "understand". Now I'll edit the post. – Judicious Allure – 2018-05-04T04:03:43.407

3Neither of them is very fluent, though. It is (the) clearest what? It sounds like you're ranking things in order of clearness. I agree with Paul Childs; in this context we would say completely clear or absolutely clear. – stangdon – 2018-05-04T11:14:42.727



When "Is that clear enough?" means "Do you understand it clearly?", you can't use clearest. Use:

Yes, it is very clear to me.

There are many synonyms you can use in place of very. See the examples for clear.

Though using it as a modifier, you could say:

That is the clearest answer I have heard all day.


Posted 2018-05-04T02:29:32.797

Reputation: 29 679

Thank you for your answer. Originally my question was about the using of definite article here, but you're saying that I cannot use both of the choices. But this answer confuses me with other answer that says that I can end a sentence with a superlative without followed noun. https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/165341/12430

– Judicious Allure – 2018-05-04T04:26:00.173

1The problem is that "clear enough" indicates a "sufficient explanation", not a grading of several explanations (as in my second example). – user3169 – 2018-05-04T04:46:12.697

But I wanted to tell to the answerer that it's not only clear enough but it's most understood. – Judicious Allure – 2018-05-05T03:25:20.403

@subtle_sibling If that was your intent, you would say something like It was the most clearly understood. However, that exact answer would not be the correct response to the actual question you asked. Your question doesn't indicate that there is more than a single item under consideration. To use most you have to be comparing something with something else. A single thing cannot, on its own, be most. (Except for certain idiomatic expressions such as Oh, that's most excellent! that don't apply here.) – Jason Bassford – 2018-05-06T20:02:36.567

In normal conversation, "clearest" would not be appropriate. However, someone might respond to that question with "It is the clearest" if it was a flippant response, mocking the question. – fixer1234 – 2018-08-08T06:14:22.127