Making comparisons may be something that certain hotel staff might be asked to do by a guest. For example a guest may want to know which is a better restaurant for local cuisine or which night club has a better live band or which beach is the calmest for swimming. In each of these cases you will be using comparatives and superlatives. Comparatives are used to indicate which of two things is better or worse. Superlatives are used to indicate which of three or more items is the best or worst.

Comparatives and superlatives

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 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 wisest fast fastest quiet quitest
simple simplest anxious most anxious diligent most diligent

Point to remember

When using the superlative you always, always, always use THE before the superlative, for example the best live band, the calmest beach, or the least spicy dish.

Dialogue- Making Comparisons

Guest: Which sarong looks better– the blue one or the red one?
Staff: I think the blue one suits you better.

Guest: Which hotel is the best place to stay at in Phuket?
Staff: I think the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa is better. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s closer to
the beach and the facilities and accommodations are much nicer.

Guest: Which do you think is the most convenient form of transportation in Phuket- Tuk Tuk’s or taxis?
Staff: Well Tuk Tuk’s are much easier to find and are a lot cheaper, but taxis are air conditioned.

Guest: Where’s the best place to go to listen to live music in Patong?
Staff: Well that depends on your taste in music. If you like Jazz and the Blues then the Saxophone Pub and restaurant is the place to go. If you prefer mellower piano music, then Rico’s Piano Bar may be better.

Guest: Which mall is the best place to buy clothes- Central Festival or Lotus?
Staff: In my opinion, Central Festival has more variety and better quality clothes than Lotus.

Practice Conversation Activities- Making Comparisons

1. Role Play

Role play the following situations with a partner, one person taking the role of the guest asking about the items below and the other person taking the role of a hotel staff. The staff should give two or three suggestions (to give the guests options) for each item and talk about their similarities and differences.

Guest wants to know the difference between two restaurants
Guest wants to know the difference between two beaches
Guest wants to know the best place to go for souvenirs
Guest wants to know a good place for dancing
Guest wants to know a good place for Chinese food
Guest wants to know a good place for clothes shopping
Guest wants to know a good place for scenic sunsets
Guest wants to know a good place for live music

2. Group Activity- Comparisons, Appropriate Responses

Divide the class into groups. The teams work together to formulate a response to the items listed below. After discussion, one of the team members presents the response to the class. The teacher judges which team presents the best answer based on grammar, language use, and pronunciation.

Comparison between a taxi and a motorcycle taxi

Comparison between authentic local food and local food served in tourist restaurants

The difference between large shopping malls and local traditional open markets

Compare the similarities and differences between living in two cities in your country

Compare two luxury hotels in your area

3. Group Activity- Comparisons, A Skit

Divide the class into groups of 2 or 3. Students work together to develop a skit that is grammatically correct about guests comparing two things (a beach, hotel, shopping center, etc.). Once the skit is developed, students present it to the teacher and the rest of class. The teacher judges the skit based on language, grammar use, pronunciation, originality, and acting ability.

4. Discussion- Comparison

Have a discussion about the similarities of your countries culture and the culture of the guests that visit your country. Points may include forms of greeting, gestures used to indicate different things, tipping behavior, forms of polite and impolite behavior, etc.

Students may also want to discuss personality differences between different groups of visitors. For example are people from different countries more friendly, quieter, louder, more out going, etc.
than others.

Other Links
Comparing Things
Rules for Comparisons
Comparison Game