17 Fun Comparative Practice Activities

By Alex Case
Stimulating classroom drilling and speaking activities for adjectives with “-er” or “more”, including comparative adjectives communication games

This article offers useful and popular ways of learning and communicating with comparative adjectives like “smaller” and “further” in English language classrooms. There is another article on Tefl.NET with similar activities combining comparative and superlative.

1 Comparative drilling games

Comparatives can be drilled as either “big/ bigger, interesting/ more interesting” or as opposite pairs like “longer – short, more dangerous – safer”. This is most fun with a ball going back and forth, perhaps with the rules of a real sport such as volleyball.

2 Comparative adjectives boasting game

Students ask questions like “How tall are you?” and “What time do you usually wake up?” in order to be able to make boasts like “I am (much) taller than you” and “I wake up (slightly) later than you”. You could also give extra points for being able to use more extreme adverbs with the comparative, as in:

  • slightly/ a little – 1 point
  • quite a lot – 2 points
  • far/ much/ a lot – 3 points

3 Comparative adjectives debates

Two students choose similar things and take turns saying why the thing they chose is better than the thing their partner chose with sentences like “London has a bigger airport than Paris does” and “Paris is warmer than London”. The winner can be either the last person to make a true phrase, or the person who others decide made the most important points.

The game can also be played with imaginary things like “The new Apple iDrone and the new Google AlphaDrome”. 

4 Comparative adjectives robot wars

Students take turns saying how their (imaginary) thing is better than their partner’s thing with sentences like “My robot is faster than your robot” and “My robot is much more intelligent than your robot”, using a different adjective each time. Whenever they both run out of ideas, a third person judges which robot, product, town, building, etc sounds best.

5 Comparative adjectives discuss and agree

Small groups of students try to agree on sentences like “We think that the countryside is (far) more relaxing than the city”, perhaps using the listed adjectives and/ or subjects. They can then read out some statements they agreed on and see if other people in the class agree.

6 Comparative adjectives personal guessing game

Students try to make true comparative sentences about their partner and people their partner knows like “(I guess that) your brother is (a lot) stronger than you”, for reactions like “That’s right”, “That’s nearly true, but…”, “Actually, I’m…”, and “Actually, I don’t have any brothers”. 

7 Comparative adjective descriptions guessing things game

Students give hints like “Its nose is longer than an anteater’s” and “It is smaller than a whale” until their partners guess what is being described. They can also use comparative adjectives to give feedback on the guesses like “Is it a snake?” “No, it is cuter than a snake”.

8 Comparative adjectives drawing challenge

Students compete to draw “Something that is more disgusting than a cockroach”, “A car that is cooler than a Tesla”, “A school which is more interesting than this building”, etc, with points for every try which matches that definition.

9 Comparative adjectives brainstorming game

Students take turns making true sentences about one thing (with different comparative adjectives each time) until someone repeats something, says something untrue, or gives up. They then do the same with another thing (e.g. a particular car or a celebrity that they all know).

10 Comparative adjectives cultural descriptions

Students compete to make the best definitions of something that an English native speaker might not know such as a local food. To include comparative, they do this by comparing each thing to something more well know with sentences like “It’s like horseradish, but more brightly coloured”. As it can be difficult to thing of suitable things to describe that way, you’ll probably need to give them a list, maybe also including suggestions of things to compare them to (“chapati – tortilla”, etc).

11 Comparative adjective trivia quizzes

Students answer general knowledge questions like “Which is longer, the Nile or Amazon?” and “What moves faster, a swordfish or cheetah?”, then make up similar questions for each other from their knowledge or internet research.

12 Comparative adjectives random pelmanism

Make a list of about 30 words or phrases that you want to revise. Put them on a worksheet or make them into cards. Students take turns choosing two and comparing them any way that they can think of, but using a different adjective each time, as in “A bulldog is more unusual than a mug” or “A socket is smaller than an airship”. This is more challenging and fun if they have to choose the things to compare at random, e.g. with cards face down on the table.

13 Comparative adjectives pelmanism

Students try to match up pairs of adjectives by what form they take in the comparative, with “sunny” and “funny” making a pair (because they make “sunnier” and “funnier”), but “fun” and “big” not matching. If you want to include irregular plurals like “better”, you can have them matching other irregular adjectives, or not matching anything and so always being a bad choice. This is also most fun with cards face down on the table, but can also be done with a worksheet for an easier activity and less cutting up.

14 Comparative recommendations challenge

Students challenge each other with questions asking for advice like “Can you recommend a city which is more romantic than Paris?” and “Do you know any exercises which are easier than walking?”, perhaps based on a list of topics and/ or adjectives.  

15 Comparative adjectives marketing projects challenge

Students imagine a new product and describe how it is better than other things on the market with sentences like “It’s bigger than an iPhone, but because you can roll it up, it’s also more convenient”. Students listen to the others presenting their products, ask questions if they like, then decide which product from another group they will buy.

16 Comparative adjectives problems and solutions

Students discuss the best responses to problems like “Our competitor’s new product looks like ours but is much cheaper” and “Deliveries to Europe are taking even longer now”. They can then make up similar problems to discuss like “My brother is much more academic than me”. For business topics, the discussion can be done as a roleplay meeting.

17 Comparative adjectives must say yes bluffing game

Students answer all personal questions with comparative like “Is your bedroom bigger than this classroom?” and “Are you taller than the teacher?” with “Yes”. Perhaps after follow-up questions, their partner guesses if that “Yes” is true or not each time.

Written by Alex Case for Teflnet December 2022
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
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