Comparing with ‘as … as’

You’ll have lots of opportunities to compare and contrast things in your IELTS Speaking exam: perhaps describing the differences between family members or comparing one place with another. And there are many different ways of making comparisons in English. In this lesson we’ll look at using ‘as … as’.


a) We use ‘as … as’ with an adverb or an adjective to make an equal or unequal comparison:

i) Living in the UK has been as enjoyable as I’d expected it would be.
ii) My brother and I both play the piano but I don’t play as well as he does.

b) You often find ‘as … as’ used with ‘much’ or ‘many’ (sometimes with a noun) to express amounts or quantities:

i) Since I’ve started to work part-time I’m not earning as much (money) as I used to.
ii) I like my language school because classes don’t have as many students as in other places I’ve studied.

c) You can modify ‘as … as’ with adverbs like ‘almost’, ‘nearly’, ‘not quite’ and ‘nowhere near’.
If the difference between the two items is only slight, we can use ‘almost’, ‘nearly’ or ‘not quite’.

i) Speaking online with Skype is almost as good as being face-to-face with the person.
ii) I thought things would be cheaper in this country but they are nearly as expensive as where I come from.
iii) My exam results were not quite as good as I was hoping for.

To emphasize the difference between two things you can use ‘not nearly’ or ‘nowhere near’ with ‘as … as’.

i) I’ve seen the film but it was not nearly as good as the book.
ii) Winter in Australia is nowhere near as cold as where I come from.

Rephrase it!

Proof of an advanced level of English is your ability to say the same thing in different ways. For example:

a) I’m more fair-haired than my sister.

b) My sister is not as fair-haired as I am.
c) I’m not as dark-haired as my sister.

Rephrase the following statements using the ‘as … as’ structures we’ve looked at above.

i) I’m more interested in watching TV than reading.
ii) Things cost the same here as in my country.
iii) We have a lot more holidays in Spain than you do.
iv) I’m a little bit better at maths than I am science.
v) My grandfather is becoming much less active as he gets older.

These statements could be expressed in many different ways but here are some suggested answers:

i) I’m not as interested in reading as I am in watching TV.
ii) Things are as expensive/cheap here as in my country.
iii) You have nowhere near as many holidays as we have in Spain.
iv) I’m not quite as good at science as I am maths.
v) My grandfather is not nearly as active as he used to be.

Over to you

Can you think of any other ways to express these statements using ‘as…as’? Alternatively, practise comparing two people or places using ‘as … as’. Put them in a comment below.



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