This activity looks at ways of making comparative forms by asking learners to compare things that are usually thought of as opposites.

Paul Kaye

It can be used to revise structures or to present them as part of an inductive approach. It also encourages learners to be creative. The activity would be suitable for an elementary to intermediate level.


Make a copy of this worksheet for each student

Worksheet 54k


  • Dictate the complete word pairs on the handout (pairs 1 – 5) to learners. If they are low level give them time to check their spelling in groups before moving on. Draw the learners’ attention to the opposites in the pairs.
  • Give the handout to the learners, giving them time to check their spelling again. Ask them to complete the next three pairs (numbers 6 – 8) with their own ideas. Emphasise that there are many possible ways to complete them. Discuss answers.
  • Ask learners to add one more pair of their own (number 9), and then share that with the class. Other learners can choose one they like and add it as number 10.
  • Use the first pair as an example. Write it on the board and ask learners what the difference is between men and women. Elicit answers that use comparative forms, for example:
    • Men are stronger than women
    • Women are more sensitive than men
  • Try to get at least one example of –er than and one using more_____ than.
  • Ask learners in groups to write sentences comparing the other things in the pairs. Monitor for accuracy if this is one of your aims for the class.
  • Share ideas together. Ask learners to choose the best comparisons.


That's a good activity.
I have used a bit different activity in my classes. It is called compare yourselves.
In pairs, students find different ways of comparing themselves with each other, and write down or simply say the appropriate sentences." You are taller than I am". Said is older than Abdul. To encourage more interaction, tell the students they may not use aspects(such as hair  color or height ) that are immidiately apparent, but only things they have find out through talking:
"Nargiz has more brothers than I have. Nigar knows more languages than Sabina".
This is good activity to practise comparatives. It is interesting for students beacause they are getting to know each other and the most important things they like to talk about personal things.

I did it today. My students liked it  a lot. They were enthuastic making new pairs for comparison and making up their own sentences and at the end they chose the best comparisons.

I've done a similar activity with classes before, but instead of comparing pairs of things that are conventional opposites, we compare completely random objects.  I have found this to be a lot of fun.  I divide the class into two teams, and the board down the middle.  One team has to fill their side of the board with adjectives and the other with objects.  The students then have to come up with as many true comparisons as possible between seemingly random things.  For example, a flower is more beautiful than a grammar book, or a pencil is thinner than an rhinoceros.  The students usually come up with some funny sentences.  You could give points to the most creative or the funniest suggestions.

This sounds like a wonderful idea for practicing adjectives, is/are, and comparitive words. I would choose words more closely related to students' lives (I work with elementary school) and I like the idea of using random pairs, like chalk and cheese, rather than standard objects.

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