Simpler, Livelier Tasks With Comparative Adjectives

I recently shared a Basic English lesson on comparative adjectives that form with -er. As simple as this topic seems, plenty of practice is always called for. Inevitably, production requires accuracy with other grammar elements. I found my students still struggling with subject-verb agreement and singular vs. plural nouns. (Bananas are better than cherries. And not bananas is or banana are.)

I think it’s been wise to focus on small grammar bites as we work our way through comparatives. We started with better and worse, and then we moved to regular adjectives with -er. Long adjectives with “more” and “less” are next.

I like having mix of activities that I can choose from; I can target either comprehension or production, depending on what I feel my students need. I particularly like activities that allow me to scale up or down on what’s demanded of the student.

Here’s a simple warm-up that can stand lone as a listening task. Using a number of different comparative adjectives, I created eight statements that will prompt students to listen carefully and call out answers as they process the information. Check out my Comparative Adjectives_shout out_warm-up. Variation: Students can write down answers, skipping items they don’t know. Checking their answers with a partner allows for a second chance before you give the answers to the class. If you wish to lengthen the task, you can add additional clues for them to guess other common objects.

The recommended follow-up is to group all the adjectives used in the guessing game according to their spelling patterns. Students can sort the adjectives as you read them aloud. Which comparative adjectives require us to double that final consonant? And so on.

If you wish, you can extend the activity into pair work. Have students create their own clues for 1-2 common objects. Classmates will guess based on the clues provided. Student must use at least one comparative adjective for every object described.

Are your students ready for short conversations? Let my other handout prompt them: Comparative Adjectives_What’s Better.What’s Worse_handout. There are a total of eight prompts. note: The odd items use gerunds. (Riding the train isn’t fun, but walking is worse.) The even items use nouns. (Spring is beautiful, but summer is better.) Encourage comments beyond the 2-line exchange for each item.

See a related handout for comparative adjectives and adverbs.


Featured photo uses an image by Prawny. Retrieved from

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