Adjectives and verbs

Home learning focus

To understand how to use adjectives and verbs.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos showing adjectives and verbs in action
  • three activities

Learn

Words belong to different groups or word types. Each type of word has a different role in a sentence. Adjectives and verbs both have different roles.

Adjectives are usually used to describe things, and verbs are normally used to describe actions.

Watch this short clip to see how we can use adjectives in writing.

Learn about the importance of adjectives and ‎their significance from Amar Latif, who runs a ‎travel company for both blind and fully-sighted ‎people.‎

Adjectives

As a standard rule, we use adjectives to describe a noun within a sentence.

For example: The classroom was clean and bright.

We can also use adjectives in a comparative manner. We can compare the noun to ‎something else. In this instance, we need to change the ending of the adjective to an –er ending.

For example: The classroom was cleaner than the week before.‎

Another way we can use the adjective, is in the superlative form. This is as though you are ‎describing the extremes of something. To do this, we need to change the ending of the adjective ‎to an –est ending.

For example: The classroom remains the cleanest in the school and the windows allow the ‎brightest rays of sun to shine through.

Here are some more examples of superlatives:

  • biggest
  • smallest
  • greatest
  • strongest
  • weakest
  • best
  • worst

Now, watch the following clip to refresh your memory on the use of verbs.‎

A yoga instructor explains how she uses ‎verbs in her classes.‎

Dynamic verbs

You may have heard a verb described as a doing word - he walks; Ben is jumping; the ‎dog wagged its tail. The underlined words are all examples of dynamic verbs.‎

Notice that verbs can be in the past, present or future tense: I stretched (past); ‎I stretch (present); I will stretch (future).

Stative verbs

Stative verbs show a state of being, or emotion, or express a less physical action: ‎students are in the hall; the dog likes its food; Shona understood the lesson.

Choose your verbs carefully when writing.‎ Saying that a character's expression narrows, creases or frowns might reveal more about that ‎character than simply describing a facial movement.‎

When used effectively, verbs can be a powerful way to affect the reader’s attitude towards a subject.

Practise

Activity 1

Check your understanding. Complete the two practice activities on verbs and adjectives.‎

Adjectives

Verbs

Activity 2

Imagine that you have been asked to review and adapt a piece of writing, before it can be ‎published. Your job is to add more ambitious adjectives and consider the use of precise verbs in ‎the passage.

Steve held on to the tuft of grass and slowly looked down - he was too shocked to speak. One ‎moment he had been walking along the cliff with Vicki, the next he was hanging over the edge. ‎And where was Vicki?‎

Once you have adapted what is already written, write the next paragraph yourself, aiming to use: ‎ ‎

  • Adjectives in all forms – to describe a noun, comparatively and in the superlative form. ‎
  • Verbs – use them precisely to create an image in the reader's head and use them in the stative form to show emotion. ‎

Top tip

Start by trying to adapt the words in orange to make them more engaging. Consider using verbs to start your sentences, when adding on to the passage. For example:

Hovering over the edge, facing the unknown, the greatest sense of panic washed over Steve.

Look at how the use of verbs has become the priority for creating the description. Using the ‎superlative greatest helps to add to the description.

Activity 3

In creative writing adjectives are used to describe characters and their actions. Expand your vocabulary and focus on how to use the 12 adjectives in this activity sheet from Teachit.

  • You will need a dictionary to complete this activity.
  • You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.
Adjectives relating to characters
document

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about the different roles that adjectives and verbs have in your writing.

There are other useful articles to help you develop your writing skills.

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