Good, Gooder, Goodest?

Kids are the best bs detectors ever invented. Seriously. In fact, kids are so good at picking up things that are ‘wrong’, that they do so even when the wrong things are right. Right? Right.

I was cooking dinner while 4-year-old Big Brother was racing around the house in his invisible racing car. He screeched to a halt in the doorway and proclaimed, “Mummy! Lightning McQueen is the goodest race car!”

I gave him a smile and gently corrected, “Best, Sweetie. Lightning McQueen is the best.”

He looked at me blankly. Then he scrunched up his face and shook his head. “You’re just tricking me,” he said with a cheeky little grin.

I couldn’t help but laugh, but then I said, “No, Sweetie. Goodest isn’t a word. Lightning McQueen is the best.” (Words are important, okay? Look at the name of this blog.)

Big Brother looked at me as though I’d just gone stark raving mad. “But fastest is a word,” he said.


“And strongest is a word.”


“And quickest is a word.”


His expression changed to one of smug victory. Something a little like Sheldon Cooper when he thinks he’s just outwitted the world. “So goodest is a word,” he said.

I smiled, and crouched down to his level. “Fastest and strongest and quickest are all words, but goodest isn’t. The word is best. Really. Lightning McQueen is the best.”

Big Brother considered this for a minute. Then a minute more. Then he asked, “Well, what does best mean?”

“Uh… Uhm…” I gestured helplessly. My mind cast about for an answer. I considered consulting a dictionary. All the while, my son looked trustingly into my eyes, waiting for pearls of wisdom to drop from my lips.

“It means goodest.”


Filed under Life With Kids

6 responses to “Good, Gooder, Goodest?

  1. I never realised how ridiculous the English language was until I had a 4-yr old. Words ending in -ed are the ones that catch my daughter up. She knows to add -ed for past tense… but. “I eated my lunch.” “No sweetie, you ate your lunch.” “I standed on the chair.” “Ahhh, no, sorry it’s stood. I stood on the chair, oh, and please don’t stand on the chair!” ARGHHH!

  2. That was the absolute best possible answer to the final question.

    Of course we have all these problems because English is a silly bastardized language with roots going to ancient Germanic roots, French, Latin, and Greek, at least. But I’m frankly a little baffled by good/better/best, though. As far as I know all three go back to old English and aren’t influenced by latinate intrusions. Apparently, irregular superlative/comparatives for this particular adjective (i.e. “good”) are common in other languages too.

    Because I’m a nerd, I just looked it all up in the Online Etymology dictionary…

  3. Haha! He backed you into a corner on that one:) He’s a smart one isn’t he?

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