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 iOS or 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.
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.
ESL activities for comparative and superlative adjectives
Students work individually to complete a table of adjectives with their comparative and superlative forms.
Start by drawing a table on the board with the columns adjective, comparative 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
Tell your students to complete the table individually before comparing their answers with a classmate.
Vampires and werewolves
Students will work in pairs to make statements of comparison from a list of noun pairs.
Start by adding the following prompts to the board:
Vampires and werewolves
Firefighters and Police officers
Hip-hop and pop music
Spiderman and Wolverine
Travelling by train or by aeroplane
Skydiving and bungee jumping
Split the group into pairs and have them create one comparison for each prompt.
When everybody has finished, encourage the group 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.
The students use their smartphones to search for some record breakers.
This activity is dependent on the students having smartphones. In groups of three or four, they will use the internet to find:
Tell each group that they should record the measurements as they go. You can finish this activity with a group discussion where you ask follow-up questions about each.
Working in pairs, the students interview each other on a range of topics.
Start by writing the following prompts on the board:
Now divide the group into pairs and tell them that they must interview their partner on their personal experiences. Before they begin, elicit or provide some example questions and encourage them to ask follow-up questions. You should demo this with another student:
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.
Players have to make sentences using themes and adjectives that have been decided by the throw of the dice.
You'll 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.
Hot seat: Comparative and superlative
Students will have to describe sentences that contain the target language to the player in the hot seat.
Start by dividing the class into two teams. On each turn, one student will sit with their back to the board, facing their teammates. Next, you'll write a comparative or superlative statement on the board.
When the round begins, students have to describe that sentence to their teammate in the hot seat without using any significant words from the board. Set a time limit if you wish. Some example statements to get you going:
1. Giraffes are the tallest animal in Africa.
2. Tokyo is more crowded than Berlin.
3. The tallest man in the world was from the USA.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo is a better footballer than Ronald McDonald.
5. The African elephant is the heaviest (land)animal in the world.
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 iOS or 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.