Comparative Adjectives: How to Teach Them, the Awesome Way


Powering Through Comparative Adjectives

My last semester teaching at a Korean university is coming to a close and in my freshman classes, we’re powering through the last little bits of Touchstone 2 before the final exams next week. Touchstone 2,  by the way is a very decent book overall and although I used to hate this series, it seems that they’ve pulled it together for the second edition and things are looking brighter. Nothing flashy but it hits all the standard grammar and vocabulary points in a solid way and the students don’t hate it. An ESL textbook that the students don’t hate is basically a win for me. That’s a post for another day though.

Touchstone Two

Do you Know the Rules about Comparative Adjectives? I Certainly Didn’t

Today, it’s all about Touchstone 2, Unit 10, which deals with comparative adjectives. When I first started teaching at a university in Korea, I was so surprised that my students, despite studying ridiculously complicated grammar for their university entrance exam, didn’t know the simple rules about comparative adjectives. If you’re a native speaker of English, perhaps you don’t know them either. I certainly didn’t until I started teaching English! Anyway, help is here and I’m happy to share my tips with you.

This is straight from the PPT that I used with my students:

Comparing 2 Things _____er, more ______

Short words (1 syllable): ____er (nicer, bigger)

Long words (2+ syllables): more/less (more convenient, less expensive, more modern)


Ends in “y,” change it to “i” + er. Easy—>easier

Fun —->more fun



A Comparative Adjectives Lesson Plan

So of course I started the lesson off with a little lead-in to set the context. Then we did the listening which introduced comparative adjectives in context and students “noticed” the language. Next, I introduced the chart that you can see above and students did the controlled practice exercises in the book, by putting their pencil down and speaking with a partner. After that, they did a bit freer practice by using those questions in the book from the previous exercise and giving their own answers by having a short conversation with their partner.

(Do you need more lesson planning tips for all kinds of lessons? See this post: Lesson Planning for ESL Teachers).

We Finished it Off with a Fun Game

Finally, my students played this ridiculously fun game. You can click the link below to get the PDF file.

Comparative Adjectives Game

Here’s How the Game Works:

2 teams of 2. Rocks-scissor-paper to see who goes first.

The first team picks two words. For example, bear and zebra.

Each person on that team must make a sentence using a comparative adjective. For example:

“A zebra can run faster than a bear.”

“A bear is lazier than a zebra.”

If correct, they mark those two squares off with an “X.”

The next team chooses another two words and if correct, marks those squares off with an “O.”

The goal is to get as many points as possible. One point = 3 squares in row (up, down, or diagonal).

The game continues until the time is up (around 20 minutes).

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