ESL Comparatives Activities

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson provides a few activities you can use to engage students in a fun practice of comparatives. The lesson offers appealing prompts so students enjoy themselves while reinforcing the many applicable rules of English grammar.

We Compare All the Time

Comparatives are a challenge for ESL students because they need to remember many rules of grammar. To get your students interested in comparatives, ask them what comparisons happen every day. This will get students thinking about their own usage of the English language.

To illustrate, you could ask students to imagine they are at a store. You could ask 'What if you have to choose between two t-shirts? You like them both but you can only afford one'.

Similarly, you could ask 'What if you and a friend are choosing between two restaurants for lunch? You make a suggestion and need to be able to explain why your choice is better than the other option'.

These questions will help students realize that comparisons are very necessary in daily conversation. Moreover, we use them all the time without even thinking about it. The following activities can engage your students in the practice of comparatives.

Your Opinion Matters!

This activity helps students to practice the rules they have learned about comparatives by looking at pairs of images.


Find several pairs of images that can be compared. A wide variety are available on the Internet. For example, the first pair of images could be a white cat and a brown cat, the second could be orange juice and strawberry juice, the third image could be a high heel shoe and a flat shoe, etc.

Prepare slides with the image pairs presented side by side in two-column format. Software programs such as PowerPoint offer this format as an option and are easily edited.


Depending on your preference and the level of class you teacher, you can start out with easy comparisons. For example, to make practicing comparatives easier at first, tell your students to practice only 'more than' comparisons by adding the ending 'er' or 'ier'. During a second round, students could use 'less than' comparisons, or '' comparisons.

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