To continue this course: Part 1 band 7 formulas, we will now look at Part 1 band 7 formulas (compare).

There are many ways to compare 2 things in English. Now, we will now look at the most logical ways to do so, and learn how to apply these formulas to your own answers.

Please read this whole post, remember, you can use Google dictionary for definitions of any words used (by double-clicking them). Also, you can speak with other IELTS 123 users for free here: click here. Go through the master list of current part 1 questions here.

Let’s begin.

Part 1 Band 7 Formulas (compare)

First, you should tell the examiner which you prefer (this or that).

Note: Prefer can be followed by either “to verb” or “verb(ing)
Note 2: “Prefer + verb(ing)” can be followed by either “to” or “rather than” but, “prefer + to verb” can only be followed by “rather than”

Secondly, compare the 2 things.

Finally, give a reason or an example of why you prefer it. 

Subject + prefer + verb(ing) “I prefer reading books.”

Subject + prefer + to verb + rather than + verb “I prefer to read rather than watch TV.”

You could use comparatives of convenience or benefit, for example: faster than, better than, cheaper than, more convenient, more educational.

“I prefer travelling by motorbike because it’s faster than travelling by car.”

“I prefer reading books because it’s more educational than watching TV.”

To form a comparative of an adjective you should always:

  1. You should add +er if the adjective has only one syllable (fast, small, etc)
  2. Always add +ier if the adjective has two syllables and ends in ‘y’ (happy, etc)
  3. Add +more if the adjective has two or more syllables (convenient, comfortable, educational, etc)

Formula 1: prefer this to that

Answer order:

  1. State which one you prefer most.
  2. Compare the 2 things that the examiner mentions in the question.
  3. Give reasons or examples to support why you prefer it.

Now let’s look at 3 possible prefer this to that type of question.

“Do you prefer reading books or watching TV?”
“Which do you prefer? Eating or Cooking?”
“Do you like tea or coffee the most?”

There are a few expressions that we can use at the start of your answers, such as:
“Well, to be perfectly honest with you”, “I would have to say”, “Believe it or not”, “if I had to choose, I would have to say…”. 


Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I prefer reading books rather than watching TV. Quite frankly, it’s more captivating to get lost in the pages of a book than in episodes of a TV series. Plus, it’s something I can do anytime and anywhere, whereas, when I want to watch TV I’d need to be either at home or in a WiFi hotspot.

Believe it or not, I prefer to cook rather than eat. I guess the process of cooking a good meal is more rewarding than eating one, especially when it’s for a special occasion or for a loved one. I’m not exactly the best cook in the world, however, when my family enjoy the meal or it turns out well, the feeling can’t be matched.

If I had to choose, I would have to say that I prefer drinking coffee to tea. It used to be the other way around, however, nowadays I’m so busy at work and coffee does the job better than tea. I know that tea is a healthier option, but coffee is my drink of choice at the moment.

Formula 2: X than Y (compare)

Typically these questions come as a “more than” type, or a +ier type.

Use the same order as the one used above.

  1. Were you healthier as a child than you are today?
  2. Did you watch more TV when you were younger than you do now?
  3. Do you read more books now than when you were in school?

You can also use the same expressions to start your answers as above.

Remember, these types of questions are most commonly used to compare the past to the present, or the present to the future. When talking about a period of time, remember to clearly state to the examiner which period of time you are talking about, instead of just relying on the correct grammar structure. (“At the moment”, “Back in the day”, etc)


Yeah, I would say so. Looking back to when I was a child I used to play outside all day every day, also, I would eat my mum’s good home cooking, and she was a bit of a health freak. That being said, nowadays I hardly ever exercise and I eat whatever I fancy on the day.

To be perfectly honest with you, I used to watch way more TV back in the day than I do in recent years. I guess it’s because I had more free time and no responsibilities, however, at the moment I need to work a full-time job and the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Believe it or not, I read more nowadays than I did back in my school years. Looking back to my golden years, I only read what I needed to, however, right now I read for pleasure. I definitely consider it a hobby of mine, though it’s not something I can do as often as I’d like to.

Note: The rich use of Comparative Discourse Markers in each answer. “That being said” (phrasal transition, same function), “However”, etc.

Conclusion: Part 1 band 7 formulas (compare)

Mastering these formulas is key to making a clear comparison or stating which you prefer. If you have enjoyed this post, please share it to social media using the buttons below.

You can apply them easily enough, with a bit of practice you’ll be presenting your abilities in a much more logical way than ever before. If you have taken the test previously and failed to achieve band 7+ then read on to the next post.

Also, don’t forget to use the website’s chat function to practice using these formulas with other IELTS 123 users.

Please view the ‘Current part 1 master list’ for all current topics in Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking test.

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