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Grammar Microteaching Lesson: Adjectives

George Brown College: A presentation on the worlds most descriptive words.

Sara Seminerio

on 15 May 2013

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Transcript of Grammar Microteaching Lesson: Adjectives

By: Michael Leibner & Sara Seminerio Adjectives Adjectives describe the properties of an
entity that a noun represents.
It may describe inherent properties of that
entity, such as:
- color (green, blue)
- size (big, small)
- weight (light, heavy)
- age (young, old)
- quality (good, awful) Stacking Adjectives What's an Adjective? Adjectives can occur one after another! This, is referred to as "Stacking".

An adjective sequence begins with:

(1) An Adjective of subjective judgement or evaluation (ugly)
(2) An Adjective of measurement (old)
(3) An Adjective of color (yellow)
(4) A noun, acting as an adjective, that describes the material (tin)

Ex. An ugly, old, yellow tin bucket.

Changing this order produces phrases that native English speakers are uncomfortable with:

Ex. An old, ugly, yellow tin bucket
An ugly, yellow, old tin bucket
An ugly, old, tin yellow bucket Most Adjectives are Gradable (they can indicate degrees of property) Comparative (-er)
Superlative (-est)
More + Adjective
Most + Adjective Gradability of Absolute Adjectives A number of Adjectives such as: absolute, complete, correct, essential, impossible, perfect, pregnant, ultimate and unique have been called "Absolute Adjectives" because their meaning is not gradable.

They express a quality that cannot be increased or decreased. Past & Present Participles Adjectives are frequently formed from present and past participles.

Ex. That was an interesting lecture (present)
He was standing around with a bored expression on his face (past) Participle Adjectives have
comparative and superlative forms,
only with more and most, and with
less and least. They cannot add (-er) or (-est) Modification of Adjectives The final characteristics of Adjectives is that
they can be modified by adverbs

(1) These shrimp are large.
These shrimp are [unusually] large.

(2) They appear to be happy.
They appear to be [remarkably] happy. Adjective: Lively
Comparative: Livelier
Superlative: Liveliest
More+ Adjective: More Lively
Most + Adjective: Most Lively * Negative gradability is indicated by placing (less) and (least) before adjectives to create comparative/superlative forms
Ex. The result was less successful than anticipated. However, native English speakers tend to write and say things like:
"It's the most perfect copier ever!"
"They found it somewhat impossible". Present: amazing, boring, corresponding, encouraging, exciting, existing, following, promising Past: advanced, alleged, armed, bored, complicated, disabled, excited, frightened, interested, pleased Ex. That was the most amazing performance ever.
That was the amazingest performance ever. Adjectives can be classified according to where they occur in sentences Position of Adjectives Attributive Adjectives: Modify the noun and occur before that noun
Ex. That [big] car is his. Predicative Adjectives: Appear after a copular verb. They may describe the subject or object
Ex. She is [insane]. Participal Adjectives: Can appear in both attributive and predicative positions

Attributive: That elephant has a [really] [big] trunk.
Predicative: That elephants trunk is [really] [big]. ... small Attributive- Only Adjectives A number of Adjectives, including: drunken, eventful, future and utter, can appear only as modifiers of head nouns, that is, they can only appear in the attributive position

Ex. At last nights party, he saw one of his former wives.
At last nights party, he saw one of his wives who is former. The world's most descriptive words Adjective of Degree Describes the degree of property expressed by the head noun.
Ex. The show was an [utter] disaster.
(the adjective 'utter' describes the degree of the disaster) Quantifying Adjectives Adjective of Time and Location Indicate the amount, quantity or frequency of the head noun.
(1) The [entire] crew.
(2) An [occasional] crowd. Places a head noun within a particular time frame or location.
(1) A [future] appointment
(2) An [old] girlfriend
(3) A [previous] version Associative Adjectives These do not express literal properties of a head noun but instead, describe it in terms of some entity that is associated with it.

Ex. Nuclear physicist
This certainly does not imply that the physicist is somehow nuclear. Instead, the adjective describes the area of science the physicist works in. Similarly in the term, 'criminal attorney'. Predicative- Only Adjectives Adjectives that can only occur in the predicative position. They are divided into 3 groups: Adjectives Beginning
with the Prefix A- Adjectives that take Complements Adjectives referring to Medical or Health conditions Adjective Phrases Adjective Phrases can consist of:
- just an adjective
- adjective with preceding adverb
- with a following prepositional phrase
- or with both adverb and prepositional phrases (afloat, afraid, aghast, alive, asleep, awake) Ex. The young girl was [asleep], so she did not hear the storm.
The [asleep] girl did not hear the storm. These adjectives take complements that are either infinitives or prepositional phrases.

(infinitive) She is [liable] to make a scene.
(prepositional) He is [devoid of any humor]. Finally, there is a small group of adjectives that refer to medical conditions
(faint, ill, poorly, unwell, well etc.)
Ex. He feels [faint].
My mother is [ill]. Adjective + [about] Adjectives followed by prepositional phrases beginning with [about], include adjectives like: angry, annoyed, concerned, delighted, glad, happy, mad, pleased, upset.

Ex. They were delighted [about _______________] The customers were [angry].

He was [extremely] [upset].

He was [upset] [about the poor service].

He was [extremely] [upset] [about the poor service]. Adjective + [at] Adjectives followed by prepositional phrases beginning with [at] include adjectives like: adept, aghast, alarmed, clever, disgusted, great, mad, pleased, talented, terrible. One sub- group consists of worlds like 'amazed', which convey psychological reaction.
Ex. The author was [amazed at] the reaction from the critics.

The other stub- group consists o adjectives that describe an ability or lack of, with some regard to an activity.
Ex. I am really [terrible at] sports. Adjective + [for] Includes the adjectives: answerable, anxious, bad, difficult, eager, easy, good, grateful, necessary, prepared, responsible, sorry.
Ex. Everyone knows that fast food is not [good for] you.
We are very [sorry for] the inconvenience. Adjective + [with] I am [familiar with] that term. Demonstrative and Possessive Adjectives Two types of adjectives that must be distinguished from others are demonstrative and possessive adjectives.

Demonstrative adjectives are used when we are being specific about a noun and are trying to demonstrate which person, place, or thing we are referring to. Ex. “I have been reading [this] book all day” or “[That] summer was the hottest they had ever experienced.” Possessive adjectives are used together with a noun to demonstrate possession or ownership.
Ex. “[My] dad said not to touch [his] car" Demonstratives and possessives are unique amongst adjectives for several reasons:

-they perform as function words in sentences, whereas most adjectives are content words

-they have no comparative or superlative forms

-demonstratives always appear in the attributive position, and never the predicative

Ex. “This milk is sour” instead of “sour milk is this”.

For these reasons many consider demonstratives and possessives to be determiners rather than adjectives, and group them in with other determiners such as articles (the, a) and quantifiers (some, many). Problems for ESL Learners Wrong Ordering of Adjectives in an English Sentence

In their study of English, English as a Second Language
students learn that several adjectives can
be used to describe a subject in a single sentence.

In this case, English as a Second Language users must be very
careful in placing the adjectives in correct order in the sentence.

This is because there is such thing as wrong ordering of adjectives.

To be guided, people trying to learn
English as a Second Language must remember the
accepted order of adjectives.
1. Articles = a, an, the

2. Judgment = magnificent, plain, impressive, dull

3. Size = enormous, minute, humongous, tiny

4. Shape = octagonal, elongated, triangular, short

5. Age = old, outdated, modern, current

6. Color = olive green, mustard, brownish, off-white

7. Nationality = Filipino, Spanish, Russian, Chinese

8. Material = concrete, wooden, watery, volcanic

Learners must remember... Teaching Suggestions Some helpful links.
(Helpful is an adjective!) eslpartyland.com
eslprintables.com (These links provide the ESL learners and teachers with puzzles, worksheets, flash cards etc. to not only cover grammar, but all aspects of English as a Second Language!) Cowan, Ron. "Chapter 12: Adjectives." The Teacher's Grammar of English: A Course Book and Reference Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print. ""A Fun Place to Learn English as a Second Language!"" ESL: English as a Second Language Resources for Teachers and Students. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eslpartyland.com/>. "ESL Printables: English Worksheets, Lesson Plans and Other Resources." ESL Printables: English Worksheets, Lesson Plans and Other Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eslprintables.com/>. 1 syllable = er/est

3+ syllables = more/most
2 syllables= most of the time you use more/most, however, if the word ends in 'y', then you change the 'y' to an 'i' and add er/est *Present: (-ing) used when modifying a noun that is a source of emotion

*Past: used when modifying a noun when it's the receiver of emotion
Ex. That was an [interesting] [lecture].
ESL students learn words most easily by association, so it’s a good idea to introduce new adjectives in groups that can be related to one another (like adjectives related to appearance: tall, short, beautiful, handsome, thin, old, young, etc.)

A good activity could be to show pictures of different people and have students describe them, using sentences such as “She was a [adjective], [adjective], and [adjective] woman.” This also presents a good opportunity to practice the correct sequencing when multiple adjectives are used.

Teachers can help students position adjectives correctly by having them practice using the same adjectives in both the attributive and predicative positions, explaining the difference in emphasis. For example, “The chair is comfortable” vs. “I sat in the comfortable chair.”

Comparative and superlative forms can be a source of trouble, as in some languages
(such as French), they are made only by adding the equivalent of “more” and “most.” It can be difficult for students to remember when to use the suffixes “er” and “est,” producing such phrases as “more small” or “most good.” Give sample sentences with a word missing, and have students choose the correct word to complete the sentence. For example, “Reading a book is [blank] than writing a book.” (easy, easier, easiest)
A fun video for all! Thank you ! Bibliography
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