At times you will need to compare one thing to another. A friend may ask you to compare two movies that you have seen to decide which one he should watch, a colleague may want a comparison between two vacation spots you have visited, or a stranger may ask for a comparison between two restaurants. When you compare two or more things you are indicating which is better or worse between two things. When the superlative is used, you are indicating which is the best or the worst.

 

Comparatives are formed by either adding -er or -ier to the end of a word (Add –er if the word ends in a

consonant. Add -ier if the word ends in a y (change the y to i and add -er) or by adding more or less

before the word.

 

A simple rule to follow when deciding whether to use -er (-ier) or add more or less is: if the  word is three or

more syllables, use more or less. If the word is two syllables or less use – er (-ier ).

This rule is a guide only and some words do not follow it.

big bigger                         small smaller
 heavy  heavier  busy             busier
beautiful more beautiful common more common

   

         Superlatives are formed by adding -est to the end of the word or by using most or least before the word. The

same syllable rule applies here in deciding to use -est or most  or least.

 

 wise the wisest fast             thefastest
 quiet the quietest simple the simplest
anxious the most anxious diligent the most diligent

                                                   

English Dialogue

Students should work together in pairs and read the following dialogue, one student reading one part, the other student reading the other. Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation. The dialogue can be used as a model to have similar conversations.

 

Jasper: Where do you think is the best place to go on a vacation?

Randy: Hawaii, without a doubt.

Jasper: Why Hawaii?

Randy: Because it has the most beautiful beaches and the largest number of girls in bikinis in the world.

Jasper: That may be true, but it is also one of the most expensive places to vacation. It also gets a lot of rain.

Randy: What place do you think is best?

Jasper: Miami. Miami also has some great beaches, has lots of girls, gets much less rain than Hawaii, and it is

less expensive.

Randy: True, but Hawaii has better golf courses and they are cheaper than the golf courses in Miami.

Randy: I wouldn’t say they are better, they are just more difficult to play.

Jasper: What about the setting? Hawaii is a tropical island with more lush vegetation than Miami, not to mention

the most amazing sunsets anywhere.

Randy: Maybe, but it takes less time to get to Miami than Hawaii. I can be on the beach soaking in the sun,

while you’re still in the airplane.

Jasper: Maybe, but once I get there I would have cleaner, fresher air to breath, unlike Miami, which has a little

too much smog if you ask me. And the streets are safer to walk on in Hawaii.

Randy: I’ll admit that’s true. Miami does have a higher crime rate.

Jasper: So where are you going on vacation this year?

Randy: Alaska. I want to see a polar bear.

 

After reading, close your book and tell your partner a summary of the dialogue. Then switch and have your partner tell his or her summary. Start like this: This dialogue is about two people comparing vacation spots. One man thinks …This may seem silly, since you both already know what the dialogue is about, but the purpose is to practice using your English, not to give information or test your reading skills.

 

Conversation Activities

 

1. Pair Work- discussion

What is your favorite vacation spot? Tell your partner about it using some of the ideas for discussion

below. Your partner should ask questions to get more information.

  • where is it
  • how often have you been there
  • why do you like it
  • why is it better than other places

2. Pair work- discussion

     Which things are better? Discuss and compare the following items, stating the advantages of one over

the other, using comparatives and superlatives. The notes in parentheses are possible ideas for

comparison. Feel free to add to the list.

 

                Going to San Francisco or Seoul for vacation 

                        (weather, pollution, tourist attractions, expense, entertainment, people)     

                Buying a house or apartment    

                        (price, spaciousness, maintenance, convenience, parking, safety)

                Traveling by bus or train 

                        (price, comfort, speed, the view, people you meet, services)    

                CD’s or tapes  

                        (price, availability, quality, storage space)

                Family cars or sports cars

                        (price, number of passengers, speed, appearance, gas mileage, maintenance)

                Jogging or bike riding for exercise

                        (health benefits, exertion required, calories burned, cost)       

                Watching baseball or basketball on TV

                       (level of excitement, speed of the game)