making comparisons in English

Making comparisons in English

If you have moved to an English-speaking country or even just visited one, you’ll often find that people ask you about your impressions and recommendations. A really nice way to talk about your impressions is by making comparisons with what you expected before you arrived in the country.

For example, my students often expect England to be rainy and unfriendly with a lot of tea-drinkers and football hooligans πŸ˜‰ They are surprised to find that is not the case…. well, most of the time!

So how can you describe those opinions? By making comparisons!

Have a look at the language below:

So what do you think of England then?
Well, it’s colder than I’d expected
Buckingham palace is not as big as I thought it would be
The people are friendlier than I’d imagined
London is not as impressive as I’d expected
The food is not as bad as I’d heard!
The sea is even more beautiful than I’d imagined
Public transport is more expensive that I thought it would be

What do you think? Nice natural sentences for giving your opinions, aren’t they? We’ll do a little re-cap on making comparative adjectives in a moment. But first, I’d like to focus on the sentence endings and the pattern for making comparisons:

Learn these 4 patterns and make fantastic comparisons

comparative adjective + than


not as + adjective + as

+ I’d expected
+ I’d heard
+ I’d imagined
+ I thought it would be

You can use that pattern above to talk about any of your impressions and it’ll make your English sound fantastic! By the way, I’d is a contraction for I had. This is known as past perfect for any grammar geeks out there πŸ˜‰ but the beauty of language patterns is you don’t need to remember or worry about the grammar, you just need to memorise these 4 fixed sentence endings! That’s all, easy hey?!

Making comparisons with the 4 patterns – Listen and repeat to practise your pronunciation

Now for a review of comparative adjectives

So I promised you a little ‘comparative adjectives’ re-cap, in case you are a bit rusty or this is the first time you have heard about comparatives. There is a basic rule to make them. There are a couple of exceptions but we’ll keep it simple today.

short adjectives
add ER
tall, cheap, small, coldcheaper, colder, etc
long adjectives
add MORE or LESS
expensive, impressivemore expensive, etc
adjectives ending in Y
remove Y and add IER
busy, funny, friendlybusier, friendlier, etc


Ok, now it’s your turn – Try this writing challenge!

Think about the last time you arrived somewhere new and found it was different to your expectations…..Was it colder or less expensive than you’d imagined? Were the people friendlier than you’d expected? Try making comparisons to describe your impressions. Then write your sentences in my comments (scroll down to the bottom) and I’ll let you know if they sound natural πŸ™‚ Good luck!

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Nicki is a Cambridge qualified, experienced English teacher for foreign learners. She loves helping English learners to learn real English and communicate with confidence!

8 thoughts on “Making comparisons in English

  1. I went to a new park yesterday. It was more beautiful and more colourful than i thought it would be.
    A new statue is not as impressive as i”d expected. A children railway station is more expensive than i”d heard.

    1. These are brilliant examples Kalinka! 2 little changes: I would say ‘the’ new statue because it’s a specific one and maybe you mean ticket instead of station? But the comparison structures you learnt in the lesson are fantastic and you’ve used them perfectly! Great job πŸ™‚

  2. Amsterdam definitely met my high expectations. The city is even more impressive than I’d imagined. People are friendly, they speak English like it’s their native language. It’s better than i’d expected. Can’t wait to go again.

    1. So many lovely (and grammatically perfect) sentences in here Alexsandar. Thank you for sharing your brilliant examples with everyone. And I’m glad you had such a nice time in Amsterdam πŸ™‚

  3. I recently tried a new popular restaurant. I was excited about the food but it was not as good as I’d heard unfortunately!

    1. Fantastic example Marie. It sounds so natural, well done! I’m sorry you were disappointed by your meal though!

    2. I visited my grandparents in my hometown last week. The weather was so nice and the views were very attractive. And now I’m in the capital of city. There’s to many people doing activities and a lot of noise here. Living in the city is more crowded than living in the village.

      1. Fantastic example Linda! Such a nice comparison between city life and village life. One little correction: ‘….capital city. There are too many people’. Well done for trying the writing challenge, great job! πŸ™‚

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