When expressing a superlative meaning ("the most ..."), what is the difference between the usage of もっとも and 一番? (e.g. もっとも大きい vs. 一番大きい)


Simply, 一番 is colloquial/casual, and 最も is formal/technical. Oh, this is one of the rare cases where 漢語 words are more informal than the 和語 versions.

In addition, 最も can only function as a modifier, while 一番 can work as a noun which means number one.

  • 私が一番だ。: OK
  • 私が最もだ。: NG

When expressing superlative, both もっとも and 一番 have the same meaning.

Here are the definitions of もっとも and 一番 according to デジタル大辞泉.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.