Comparative / Superlative Adjective and Adverb

Learn how to use them

Language of comparison and contrast

In Describe Image items, you are likely to be presented with a graph. In these cases, it is important that you show appropriate relationships by comparing and contrasting the information contained in the graphs. Let’s see how you can use language of comparison and contrast.

Comparative adjectives: Use these when comparing two nouns and can be formed as follows:

  • Adjectives with one syllable: add ‘-r/-er’ (e.g. higher, larger, bigger).
  • Adjectives with two syllables ending in ‘-y’: change the ‘y’ and add ‘-ier’ (e.g. happier, prettier).
  • Adjectives ending in ‘-ed’ or ‘-ing’ and most adjectives with two syllables: add ‘more’ before the adjective (e.g. more boring, more crowded, more common, more peaceful).
  • Adjectives with three or more syllables: use ‘more’ before the adjective (e.g. more attractive, more successful).
  • Include ‘than’ as part of your sentence (e.g. It is more expensive to live in a city than in a small town).

Superlative adjectives: Use these when describing a noun that is at the highest or lowest limit of a group. They can be formed as follows:

  • Adjectives with one syllable: add ‘-st/-est’ (e.g. highest, largest, biggest).
  • Adjectives with two syllables ending in ‘-y’: change the ‘y’ and add ‘-iest’ (e.g. happiest, prettiest).
  • Adjectives ending in ‘-ed’ or ‘-ing’ and most adjectives with two syllables: add ‘the most’ before the adjective (e.g. the most boring, the most crowded, the most common, the most peaceful).
  • Adjectives with three or more syllables: use ‘the most’ before the adjective (e.g. the most attractive, the most successful).
  • Remember to include ‘the’ before the adjective or most (e.g. This was the cheapest car I could find.).

Comparative/superlative adverbs: The rules above apply when the comparison requires the use of an adverb. Examples:

  • I usually speak more quickly than my friends.
  • The students often work harder towards the end of the semester.
  • You can contact me the easiest by text.
  • The team played the best they could, but they didn’t win the match.

as … as: Use this structure when the two nouns being compared are equal in some form. The adjective does not change. Examples:

  • Divorce rates are twice as high as they were last year.
  • This room is as big as the one next door.

This structure can also be used with adverbs to compare two actions:

  • We didn’t finish as quickly as we’d hoped.
  • The presenter spoke as enthusiastically as he possibly could.

Comparison and contrast language is especially useful for Describe Image tasks. Look at some example sentences from student responses to this item type:

  • The land allocated for the public park is significantly smaller than the land allocated for the school.
  • The roads are much busier during June than they are in December.
  • The most important export for this country is oil.

© Macquarie University

Skills for Reading Quickly

The first time you read a text intensively:

  • Focus on the content words (usually nouns, verbs, adjectives)

It is easy to read this by focusing on the content words in bold.

  • Read in groups of two or more words (read phrases not words) eg subject + verb + object

At the age of 16 / most students take exams / in about ten different subjects

  • Prepositional phrases

At the age of 16 / most students take exams / in about ten different subjects

  • In complex sentences, identify and focus on the main clause

Vary your reading rate

Decrease speed when you find the following:

  • An unfamiliar word not made clear by the sentence: Try to understand it from the way it’s used; then read on and return to it later.
  • Long and uninvolved sentence and paragraph structure: Slow down enough to enable you to untangle them and get an accurate idea of what the passage says.
  • Unfamiliar or abstract ideas: Look for applications or examples which will give them meaning. Demand that an idea “make sense.” Never give up until you understand, because it will be that much easier the next time.
  • Detailed, technical material: This includes complicated directions, abstract principles, materials on which you have little background.

Increase speed when you find the following:

  • Simple material with few ideas new to you:Move rapidly over the familiar.
  • Unnecessary examples and illustrations:These are included to clarify ideas. If not needed, move over them quickly.
  • Detailed explanation: Elaboration which you do not need can be scanned quickly.
  • Broad, generalised ideas: These can be rapidly grasped, even with scan techniques.

Source: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/pte-success/1/steps/930514

Writing a summary

How to summarise

The following outlines the three stages and steps for summarising.

Before writing:

  • Quickly scan the passage to identify the topic and purpose.
  • Read the passage carefully to understand the content. Try to infer the meaning of any unknown words and phrases.
  • Re-read the passage and note down the topic sentences and key words on your erasable noteboard.

While writing:

  • Stick to the topic and purpose of the text. Keep the meaning and degree of certainty the same as the original writing.
  • Focus on the key words and the main ideas only. Key points in the text will usually be repeated, developed and highlighted; include these in your writing.
  • Write your summary without referring to the original, making sure to include all the main points. Do not include examples or supporting evidence in your summary.
  • Use vocabulary that is relevant to the passage and appropriate for an academic environment. The best test responses use words from the passage appropriately and use synonyms effectively to show variety and range in language use.
  • Do not add anything to the summary that was not present in the original and you should not include your opinion.

After writing

  • Check the content of your summary to make sure it conveys the main ideas in the passage.
  • Check that the basic structure of the sentence is correct. The best test responses are usually complex sentences that consist of a main clause and subordinate clause.
  • Check punctuation and spelling. Make sure your sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.
  • Check the length of your summary. Make sure you write only one sentence that is no more than 75 words long. Check your word count after you have typed your response.

Children need time to play

Play is fun, all children love playing, and children learn so much through play without even realising it. So we need to give children time to play, not just ten minutes when they finish their ‘work’.

When children play, they are experimenting with ideas, testing hypotheses, mastering skills, using their imaginations and representing their world. If you cut out play when teaching English you are removing a vital step in childhood development.

Here are a few examples of the different types of things children are learning and developing as they play.

  • When playing with plasticine children develop their fine motor skills. Children are working on hand-eye coordination and building up the muscles in their hands and fingers when modelling plasticine. These are valuable pre-writing skills, as good muscle strength and hand-eye coordination will help children hold and use writing tools properly later on. By playing with plasticine, children are also experimenting with things like colour, shape and texture.
  • When playing with dolls and a tub of waterthey are learning about the concepts of wet and dry, floating and sinking, clean and dirty. They are also engaging in sensory play, and experimenting with the way water feels.
  • When playing with musical instrumentschildren are developing sound recognition (the sounds that different instruments make and an understanding of how sounds can change (e.g. high, low, soft, loud, fast slow) and an appreciation of music. These valuable listening skills are transferable to the area of language and communication.
  • When playing with transport toys, children are experimenting with friction and motion, up and down, forwards and backwards, fast and slow.
  • When children are playing with blocks, they are learning about colour, shape and patterns, as well as the concepts of weight, size, height, length, vertical and horizontal.
  • In dramatic play and small world play(acting out scenes from real life, stories and/or imagination created with small figures and objects) children are representing ideas that help them make sense of the world around them. They can also experiment with playing different roles and inventing different scenarios, taking them beyond the real world and developing their imagination.

What do you think?

  • How important do you think it is to give children time to play?
  • How do you think play can help a child’s language development?

© British Council

Como começou a ser celebrado o Thanksgiving

Assista ao vídeo e entenda a história

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym4izq-rrow

A história por trás do Black Friday.

As primeiras origens e história

O termo “sexta-feira negra” foi realmente associado à crise financeira, não às compras de vendas.

Dois financistas de Wall Street, Jim Fisk e Jay Gould, compraram juntos uma quantidade significativa de ouro dos EUA na esperança de que o preço global subisse e, por sua vez, pudessem vendê-lo com lucros enormes.

Na sexta-feira, 24 de setembro de 1869, no que foi chamado de “Black Friday”, o mercado de ouro dos EUA entrou em colapso e as ações de Fisk e Gould deixaram os barões de Wall Street em falência.

Não foi até anos posteriores que o período pós-Ação de Graças se associou ao nome.

Nos últimos anos, circulou um boato impreciso, sugerindo que os proprietários de plantações do sul poderiam comprar escravos a um preço com desconto após o Dia de Ação de Graças, no século XIX.

Learn the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain

Dialogue explaining which nations form the UK.

Man: So where are you from?

Woman: Scotland. Are you Scottish too?

Man: Well, no, I’m English actually, but, you know, it’s all, like, the same thing, isn’t it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Go on! Isn’t Scotland just like, well, a bit of England?

Woman: No, it is not!

Man: Sorry, Britain I mean.

Woman: Britain is not England!

Man: Well, yeah, I know that. I’m not stupid or anything, but Britain’s, like, England, Scotland and Wales, isn’t it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Yeah, it is – the UK, the United Kingdom.

Woman: The United Kingdom is Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Man: Oh, I see, but we’re all, like, the same nation, aren’t we?

Woman: Not really. Four nations, one state.

Man: Oh, I get it! So the UK (is), like, the same as Great Britain.

Woman: Great Britain is a geographical term – it’s a big island with Scotland, England and Wales on it.

Man: All right, but we all have the same prime minister, don’t we?

Woman: Yes, and the same head of state.

Man: The Queen!

Woman: Exactly.

Man: And the same government?

Woman: Well, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own local parliaments.

Man: Oh. I see.

Woman: It’s complicated.

Man: Yeah, I can see that.

A Message to ESL Teachers.


Learning in a second language can be challenging, but you as a language-aware teacher can make a big difference. Here’s a summary of the main ideas:

  • Language is more than vocabulary, grammar and spelling. It is shaped by discourses, genre conventions and context.
  • Students need control of both the everyday interpersonal register and the more formal academic register to succeed in school.
  • Language learners will come from a variety of circumstances with a variety of resources, so don’t make assumptions about their needs.
  • Don’t leave it to osmosis – plan for language learning as well as curriculum learning.
  • Keep the focus on making meaning, not on correctness.
  • Encourage repetition, recycling and redundancy.
  • Use visuals and gestures to support language learners.
  • In your talk and classroom resources, aim for ‘comprehensibility plus’.
  • Welcome your students’ first languages into the classroom.
  • Plan different spaces and activities for different types of talk.
  • Give language learners a bit more wait time.
  • Understand the particular language demands of your curriculum area.
  • Build the genre cycle into your lesson planning.
  • Let students into the secrets of genre conventions.
  • Use feedback on students’ work as an opportunity for language learning.
  • Observe how your language learners are progressing, and plan for the next stage.