How Big? How High? How Large? How Tall? A Look at the Differences in Size in English

Let’s start with this picture above. It’s that of the St. Wolfgang’s Church in Schneeberg in western Saxony. Saxony is in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge). How would you describe the church? Is it tall, big, large, or high? Take some time and write a couple sentences if you need to…..



Now that you are done with it, ask yourself how difficult was it to formulate the sentence? Did you have some problems making the difference among the four adjectives? If so, you are not alone. The four words do appear to have similar meanings and functions in English. In German, they all mean the same as Groß. when looking at them more closely, there is a tiny difference among the four- each one has to do with the context. I found a video on the difference among the four, plus the difference between small and little, all explained by a teacher from Canada. Take a look for yourselves…… 🙂

After watching the video, here’s a simpler explanation of the four words in poster format, including some examples to keep in mind…….

Any questions at this point? If not, let’s have a look at the following exercises below:

Activity 1:

Look at the following nouns below and determine which word you would insert in there: big, high, tall or large. If possible, make a sentence. In some cases, more than one answer is possible.

  1. House
  2. Tower
  3. Cathedral
  4. Bridge
  5. Freeway/Motorway
  6. Wrestler
  7. Runner
  8. American Football player
  9. Basketball player
  10. Athlete
  11. Investment
  12. Bank
  13. Stock broker
  14. Stock market
  15. Joint venture
  16. Mountain
  17. Plateau
  18. Valley
  19. Peak
  20. Natural Bridge


Activity 2:

Look at the following pictures below. Determine whether one can put in big, tall, high, large or a combination. A sentence in connection with the picture may be necessary.

Activity 3:

Complete the following sentences using the correct word. In some cases, more than one answer is possible, and you may need to pay attention to the possible verb tenses and adjective endings (comparative vs. superlative).

1. The ________________ in-land lake in Germany is located at Lake Constance (Bodensee).

2. Laura is ______________ of the girls on the basketball team for she has a height of 1.8 meters, but Sara is the ______________ because she is muscular, weighs 100 kilos and is 1.82 meters _______________.

3. The Louvre is the ___________________ museum in Paris. Its four sections and courtyard is equivalent to four blocks in an American town.

4. The church is located 800m ___________ on the mountain top.

5. Mount Blanc in Switzerland is 4810 meters _____________, but Mount Everest, at 8,848 meters, is the _________________ mountain in the world.

6. _________ brother is watching you. Behave yourselves.

7. The governor of a state has ____________ power. But the president is the __________ man in office. He has the ______________ power and rules over the people of his country.

8. Sam has a ____________ sister, who is three years older than he is. He also has a ______________ brother who is two years older than his sister.

9. The blue whale is ________________ than the orca.

10. The _______________ investment a person can make is buying a house.

11. Mr. Chen, who is our ____________ boss, is the CEO of our company.

12. China is our ______________ exporter for electronic goods.

13. Mexico City is ____________________ than New York City.

14. Dubai has many of the world’s _________________ skyscrapers.

15. Hiring that incompetent consultant was the ____________ mistake you could ever make!


Now that you had a chance to practice them, are there any questions? Can you tell the difference? 🙂