the most optimal way

Kacy.H

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, everyone
Is optimal already in superlative? Can I use "most" to modify it?

e.g. Homeschooling is the (most) optimal way to help a child develop.

Thanks
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In my view:

    the optimal way = there's only one optimal way to help a child develop and it's homeschooling.
    the most optimal way = there are other optimal ways but homeschooling is the most optimal one.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    An optimal solution doesn't have to be unique; it's not exactly the same as 'best'. In fact if there are more than one solutions that could all count as best, you can't say 'a best solution' but you can use 'optimal' for it.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    You'd better tell the WR Dictionary then. It gives: most favorable or desirable; best. Collins and the OED agree.

    Mind you, optimal is often used when we mean "best in the given circumstances", so there can indeed be several optima. But that's no different from best: "These boots are best in wet weather and those sandals are best in summer: each is best in given circumstances." "But which is the most best?" :cross:

    Replace best with optimal and nothing has changed. You can't say most optimal.
     
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