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when to use the definite article with superlatives

When to omit the definite article with superlatives. When a superlative adjective is followed by a noun, we normally use the: It’s the best book I've ever read./ This is the best meal I’ve had for a long time. After linking verbs, superlative adjectives also usually have the, though it is sometimes dropped in an informal style : Which of the boys is (the)strongest? / This dictionary is(the). The cannot be dropped when a superlative is used with a defining expression. This dictionary is the best I could find.  This dictionary is best I could find. The is sometimes dropped before superlative adverbs in an informal style :  Who can run (the)fastest? I like vanilla ice cream (the)