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Superlative noughts and crosses

Average: 3.3 (158 votes)

This activity promotes the use of the superlative form. It utilises a well-known game that students find stimulating and fun to play.

Derek Spafford


Have a selection of superlative adjectives readily prepared. For example strongest, fastest, biggest, heaviest, tallest, most dangerous, etc.


Write one of these adjectives on the board and elicit something that each adjective describes. Try to encourage students to describe a number of things. For example, for tallest, students could use it to describe a student in the class (Pablo is the tallest) or describe a building in the city they live in (Baiyoke Tower is the tallest building in Bangkok).

  • Continue until you have exhausted all the adjectives.
  • Draw a noughts and crosses grid on the board.
  • Put students into two teams.
  • Play a game of noughts and crosses (tic tac toe) to establish the idea of the game for students who may not know how to play.  
  • Now write a noun in each of the squares. They can be any nouns but from the same lexical set or area. For example famous people, animals, sports, foods, etc. You might want to choose a lexical area you've recently studied. 
  • Students then play. In order to fill a square they must give a sentence using the superlative form. For example with famous people a student could say Tom Cruise is the shortest. Students must use a different adjective every time and encourage students to referee themselves.  
  • Repeat with different topics as you see fit. 


To provide a discussion you could give students the names of famous people and ask them to stand in a line from most famous to least famous or most attractive to least attractive. Students can discuss together and justify opinions as to why they feel their person is more or less attractive. Again the topics can vary. This adds an element of TPR and can provide a fun way of discussing opinions. To feedback, students at the end of each line say their sentence. For example Tom Cruise is the most attractive and Mickey Rourke is the least attractive.

You can also review comparatives by having a number of different celebrities or objects and have students compare two of these in order to receive a nought or a cross. 

First published in 2011

Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2