EFL - ESL activities and games for teaching comparative and superlative adjectives

This ESL lesson plan contains activities and games for teaching comparative and superlative adjectives to intermediate level students (B1). Feel free to use these activity ideas in your ESL classes. If you're an Android user, try this lesson out on the TEFL Handbook app. It gives you offline access to all of our teaching resources, perfect for quick reference in the classroom.

Lead-in activity

It's safe to assume that students at this level will be quite familiar with comparative and superlative adjectives. Therefore, you should be able to focus more on the functional uses and introduce more complex constructions. Step through the functional uses and try to elicit examples of each by giving the students a small part of the sentence.

EFL - ESL Lead in activity for comparative and superlative adjectives | Intermediate

ESL activities for comparative and superlative adjectives

Adjective table

We can start off with this quick and easy ESL activity. Draw a table on the board with the columns adjectivecomparative and superlative. Populate the first column of the table with the following adjectives:

Deep, safe, noisy, beautiful, big, good, bad, far, dangerous, hairy, great, angry

Students will complete the table individually before comparing their answers with a classmate.

Comparisons

This ESL writing activity is excellent for practising comparatives and superlatives. Students will work in pairs to make comparisons from the following noun pairs:

Vampires and werewolves
Firefighters and Police officers
Hip-hop and pop music
Spiderman and Wolverine
Travelling by train or by airplane
Skydiving and bungee jumping

After that, encourage them to think of the opposites to the adjectives that they have used and then use those to make statements with the same meaning as the original. You can do this example on the board first:

School children are younger than university students.
University students are older than school children.

Superlative challenge

This activity is dependent on the students having smartphones. In groups of three or four, they will use the internet to find:

Driest desert
Biggest planet
Smallest planet
Smallest animal
Oldest person
Largest continent
Smallest continent
Tallest building
Longest river

Have them record and report back on the measurements as well. You can finish this activity with a group discussion where you ask follow up questions about each.

Interview time

In pairs, students interview each other on a range of topics. Write the following prompts on the board:

Coldest place
Hottest place
Worst storm
Most frightened
Happiest moment
Most nervous
Best concert
Worst song/movie
Coolest thing

You should elicit or provide some example questions, encourage them to ask follow-up questions and demo with a student before they begin:

Teacher: Where is the coldest place you have ever been?
Student: The Sierra Nevada.
Teacher: Wow! And what were you doing there?
Student: I was skiing with my family.

Related games

Comparative dice: Comparative and superlative adjectives

For this ESL classroom game, you will need dice or dice app on your phone. To set this up, make a list of themes on the board and number them, six will be enough. Then make a separate list of 6 or 12 adjectives and number them. For each round, players roll the dice to select a theme and adjective. To win a point, they must then make a grammatically correct sentence from those selections. You can play this as a head to head, individual or team game.

Themes: food, countries, animals, sports, free time, transport, jobs

Adjectives: beautiful, hairy, active, scary, crazy, funny, amazing, advanced, boring, great, dangerous, painful

Give one point for a grammatically correct sentence. If you're playing a team game, give a bonus point to the team with the funniest sentence and set a time limit.

More B1 ESL lesson plans

If you've found these ideas useful, have a look our complete list of ESL lesson plans for intermediate level students. For other levels, see our entire collection of ESL lesson plans. Our suggested next lesson is on expressing ability and possibility.

Are you an Android user? Then you should give our app a go! The TEFL Handbook app has over 100 lesson plans, 300+ ESL activities and over 100 ideas for classroom games. All of which can be accessed offline, perfect for quick reference in the classroom.

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