Lesson 5: Analysis Reveals Verbs and Adjectives


A conscious understanding of parts of speech will come along naturally as you discuss various words. Students will see when creating nouns, for example, that many of them are built on either adjectives (A) or verbs (V). Take these examples; the affix will attach to the same kind of word to make a new word:


run + er = runner

V + er = N


happy + ness = happiness

A + ness = N


So students discover that -er will always attach to verbs (V) to make nouns (N). And -ness will always attach to adjectives (A) to make Ns. You can also have students figure out the meaning of the affixes. What does -er mean here? And -ness? And how do you know?


They will see that all of these pieces (morphemes) have meanings of their own even though they aren’t words.


This kind of word analysis reveals that we already know parts of speech categories very well since we use them appropriately to make words all the time. You never mess up and say, for example,




attaching the –ful suffix to an adjective like happy. What does –ful typically attach to? To find out, think of words that end in –ful like wonderful, meaningful, careful. Can you figure out the part of speech of wonder, meaning, and care?


There's a lesson plan here on TeachLing that allows students to explore the categories noun, verb, and adjective by attaching and detaching suffixes. They will see that certain suffixes attach to certain kinds of words, and that they make use of that knowledge unconsciously all the time. They will also discover some quick "tests" to identify parts of speech.