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Lesson 1.3 Adjectives

downloadable worksheet


Adjectives are describing words. But then other categories describe too (verb: The rain is pelting down.). So how can we identify adjectives? Here are some handy tests.


Test 1: Comparative and Superlative Forms

Can you add the comparative -er to the word?

            big   to  bigger


Can you add the superlative -est to the word?


            happy  to   happiest


If not, can you add more and most in front of the word when the word fails to accept -er or ­-est?

            unusual  to   more unusual

            careful   to   most careful


Test 2: Follows a linking verb

Can the word follow a linking verb such as seems, is, appears? (These verbs “link” a subject to what follows.)


The cat seems sick.

The paint is thick.


Test 3: Can the word be preceded by a degree word like very, so, or too?

Her foot is very bruised.

She is so ecstatic.


Activity. Use these tests to identify adjectives that you find in a book or other text. Compare your answers to someone near you. If there are some words which you are not certain are adjectives, discuss with each other to see if you can come to agreement about whether the word is an adjective or not. What else can you do to discover its adjectiveness? Are there some words that pass one or two of the tests above but fail the others? Which words – and why?


[Teacher note: See Lesson 6.2 on Antonymy, which discusses some adjectives which cannot take comparative, superlative, or degree words.]



key words: adjectives, parts of speech, morphology, comparative, superlative, linking verb, degree word

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1a: Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1g: Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.


Here is this lesson as a pdf.

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