Making comparisons in English is something that may occur frequently in the hotel industry. A hotel employee you may be asked by a guest to make a comparison between two or more things. 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.

To make comparisons in  English , the comparative and superlative of an adjective must be used. 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 quietest
  simple simpliest 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 in English

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 Activities
Remember that one of the best was to improve your English skills is to use the language over and over again. It may sound boring and tedious but it works to make the language readily accessible for use when needed.

1. Role Playing

Practice making comparisons in English by role playing the situations below. One person take the role of a hotel guest and another a guest. Use some of the phrases expressions found in the sample dialogues. For additional practice switch roles. Use the situation below.

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- 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- Develop 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

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.

Work Sheets

Other Links
Comparing Things
Rules for Comparisons
Comparison Game