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IELTS Grammar: 'highest' or 'the highest'?

 Most grammar books will tell you that you need "the" before a superlative like "highest" or "lowest", but this is not always true.

  • We use "the" when there is a noun after the adjective e.g. the highest number, the highest proportion.
  • When we put the noun before, we don't need "the" e.g. the number was highest, the proportion was highest.

So, compare these 2 sentences:

- The UK had the highest rate of unemployment.
- The unemployment rate was highest in the UK.

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