18 Fun Comparative and Superlative Activities

Stimulating practice combining comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives, including both comparative and superlative drilling games and communicative practice

This is a list of the most amusing practice activities for “big/ bigger/ the biggest”, “comfortable/ more comfortable/ the most comfortable”, “good/ better/ the best”, etc. It concentrates on activities that use both comparative and superlative, but articles on just comparative and just superlative will follow.

Fun comparative and superlative controlled practice games

Although most of the activities in this article focus on communicative practice, there is much to be said for games which just help students to remember that it’s “small/ smaller/ the smallest” and “bad/ worse/ the worst” (not “more small” X, “the baddest” X, etc). To make the meaning and collocations of the two forms more memorable, it’s worth always drilling with “than” and/ or “the” in the games below.

Comparative and superlative ball games

Perhaps the most fun drilling game is for students to take turns starting and continuing chains like “beautiful”, “most beautiful”, “the most beautiful” while a ball goes back and forth, perhaps with the rules of a specific sport such as volleyball.

Comparative and superlative clap clap clap

Another good drilling game is for students to sit in a circle and drill chains of the three forms as they chant “Clap clap clap far” “Clap clap clap further”, “Clap clap clap the furthest” “Clap clap clap pretty”, etc.

Comparative and superlative blocks game

Students drill the three forms as they make a tower out of blocks, paper cups, plastic kitchen stuff, etc (with superlative being higher than comparative in the tower hopefully reinforcing the meanings).

Comparative and superlative TPR drilling game

Students mime “tall/ taller/ the tallest”, “ugly/ uglier/ the ugliest” as their partners try to guess what the three actions mean and say the correct forms.

Comparative and superlative Pictionary drilling game

Students draw “angry/ angrier/ the angriest”, “disgusting/ more disgusting/ the most disgusting”, etc as their partners try to guess what the sketches mean and say the right forms. You could also just have them compete to draw the best pictures, then go back to the winning examples at the end of the game to remember the matching forms.

Fun comparative and superlative communicative speaking

Comparative and superlative yuppies

One student makes a claim of how something connected to them is the best in their group with a (true or imaginary) statement such as “(I’m sure that) my grandmother is the most generous. She bakes cookies and walks 15 miles to bring them to our house” or “My car is the coolest. It has six wheels and disco lights”. Another person then tries to outdo them with “My grandmother is more generous than yours. She bought a cookie factory and gave it to me”, etc.

Comparative and superlative sentence completion games

Students play one or more of the three games below as they complete sentence stems like “In my opinion, … is much tastier than pizza” and “The most photogenic place in this town is…”

Comparative and superlative guessing games

When students have completed sentences like those above, you can get one student to read out just the part they’ve written for their partner to guess the whole sentence of.

You can also play a guessing game with clues like “It’s the biggest land animal” and “Its nose is longer than an anteater’s” until someone works out what is being described. They can also give feedback on the last hint like “Not, it isn’t a cow. It’s more exotic than that”.

Comparative and superlative things in common

Students try to make sentences that count for both/ all the people in their group like “We are slightly more musical than our parents” and “The most expensive things in our bathrooms are our hairdryers”. These can be based on sentence stems, key words and/ or suggested topics.

Comparative and superlative lying games

Students make true and false statement like “My garden is the messiest in my neighbourhood” and “My father is balder than my grandfather”. Their partner tries to guess if the statement is true or not, perhaps after follow-up questions. The statements can be based on sentence stems, key words, and/ or suggested topics.

Comparative and superlative discussion questions

Although you might need to start off with examples, this is most fun if students make up questions for each other like “Is your present home the nicest place you’ve lived in?” and “What is the most luxurious hotel you’ve ever been in?” The questions can be based on key words, suggested question stems, a coin, or a dice (see below).

Comparative and superlative coin games

Students flip a coin to decide if the next thing should be with comparative (heads) or superlative (tails), true (heads) or false (tails), something they share (heads) or a difference between them (tails), etc.

Comparative and superlative dice games

Students roll a dice to see if they should use:

  1. -er
  2. more
  3. -est
  4. the most
  5. -ier
  6. the …iest

This can be used with bluffing games, finding things in common, making discussion questions, etc.

Comparative and superlative trivia quizzes

Students try to answer questions like “Which is longer, an adult alligator or an adult python?” and “What is the oldest (continuous) capital city in Europe?” After a few examples, students can make up similar quizzes by googling those kinds of questions.

Comparative and superlative designs

Ask students to design and market a robot, flying car, etc. This should naturally bring up language like “It’s faster than a highway” and “It’s the most intelligent robot ever”, but this can also be encouraged by telling them to use three superlatives and three comparatives in their design and marketing.

Comparative and superlative list dictations

The teacher or a student reads out a list of related words until students work out that they are all “more polite than can”, “the longest rivers on each continent”, “the most famous foods from each country”, etc.

Comparative and superlative strangers on the train

Give each student a comparative adjective or superlative adjective. Ask them to drop that adjective into the conversation as naturally as they can. When they finish, they get points for having used their phrase without anyone noticing and for spotting someone else’s phrase.

Comparative and superlative class comparisons

Students get one point for each true comparative sentence about people in the class they make, and more points for every superlative sentence (because it is more difficult to make them true).

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

One Comment

  • Oliver K says:

    Love it! Thanks Alex. I vote for the python :))

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