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Hi!

A studied some bits of grammar and came across
a thing that puzzeled me.

Is there any difference between the following
sentences:

1) John chose the exam because he knew this subject best.

2) John chose the exam because he knew this subject THE best.

I suppose (1) means John knows the subj. better than
any other subj. But (2) - with "THE" - emphasizes
that he knows subj. better than anybody (in a certain group, etc)

Is it right? Thanx in advance!
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Best and the best are adverbs in your sentences and therefore both are correct and there is no difference in meaning. They normally refer to this subject. English grammar is easy to learn since there is so little of it, but that very fact can lead to ambiguity. Superlatives of adverbs need no article, but, if you want to include an article, it is possible:

He sings most beautifully.
= 1. more beautifully than anyone else
2. very/extremely beautifully (In other words, the structure can be interpreted as an absolute superlative.)

He sings the most beautifully.
= 1. more beautifully than anyone else

Cheers
CB
Comments  
Personally I would tend not to use the article, but it doesn't sound wrong with THE. I don't think there's any difference in meaning. The distinction you suggest would have to be expressed by other words.
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J LewisPersonally I would tend not to use the article, but it doesn't sound wrong with THE.
I feel the same.
Ok, if there is no difference between them,
but what is the right meaning - better than any other subject or better than anybody in a group?
 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.
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1) John chose the exam because he knew this subject best.

If you want to give two clear meanings, you can say:
A. John chose the exam because he was the one who knew this subject best (in the class).
B. John chose the exam because this was the subject he knew best.
Now I see how to express what I want to say.

Thank you all very much!
1 is correct : BEST.but 2 we use THE best when and only when there are other persons mentioned: John knew it the best of the 3 learners
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People. not persons, bro.