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An adjective is a descriptive word naming an attribute of a noun.
Or, more plainly, it is a word that describes a person or thing.
Adjectives are words that modify other words to make language more interesting or specific.
The National Curriculum guidance offers the following advice:
“The surest way to identify adjectives is by the ways they can be used:
English adjectives cannot be modified by other adjectives. This distinguishes them from nouns, which can be.
Adjectives are sometimes called ‘describing words’ because they pick out single characteristics such as size or colour. This is often true, but it doesn’t help to distinguish adjectives from other word classes because verbs, nouns and adverbs can do the same thing.”
It then goes on to offer these examples of what is, and what is not, an adjective:
Also known as an adjectival phrase, this is a group of words which includes an adjective, that modifies a noun.
Now, with that out the way, let’s get on to the resources.
This KS2 grammar resource provides everything you need to teach five 15-minute lessons on adjectives. As well as learning about the purpose and usage of adjectives, children are challenged to come up with creative responses in their writing to this area of grammar, with colourful images included to help inspire their work.
The five SPaG lessons are designed to be taught across one week. Alternately, you may wish to teach the sessions in larger chunks, spread over a longer period of time or intersperse them with different grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons.
The resources included in this pack are: PowerPoint, adjectives worksheets, noun cards, writing plan and uplevelling sentences worksheets.
Check out the pack here.
There are a few different types of adjective. Articles, for example, are the simplest. There are only three of these: ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. ‘The’ is the definite article, while ‘a’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles.
But there are also possessive adjectives (eg my, your), demonstrative adjectives (these, this), coordinate adjectives (where more than one adjective is linked together separated by commas such as ‘the big, blue, shiny sea), numbers adjectives (where a noun is modified by an amount, such as ‘three kittens’), interrogative adjectives (‘which’, ‘what’ and ‘whose’), indefinite adjectives (any, many, no) and attributive adjectives (large, small, French, young, round).
There’s a great description of all of these with examples and a few short exercises that you should check out here.
This free printable word mat offers six categories for adjective lists: people, time, good feelings, bad feelings, objects and size, with just over 100 words in total.
Download and print here.
Alternatively, if you want an adjective list that you can use as word cards then this 23-page PDF features 136 words in total.
Grab this resource here.
This challenging KS2 grammar game will help get children thinking about making powerful adjective choices, by matching adjective synonyms. It’s an ideal stretch and challenge activity for in the classroom, or for homework.
Included in the pack are two sheets of tarsia pieces; an adjective list worksheet, so children can anticipate possible synonyms; teacher’s answer sheet, showing the synonym pairs; blank tarsia sheets, so children can make their own puzzle for classmates to solve.
Get all this here.
Looking at how restaurants describe their dishes is the perfect way to show children the effect that descriptive words can have. In this plan, pupils will write a menu fit for a monster – lumpy eyeball soup, anyone?
They’ll learn how to identify how adjectives can help us to describe things, discover how some adjectives have a stronger effect than others, use adjectives to boost descriptions and think about synonyms to avoid repeating words.
Get this KS2 lesson plan here.
This Halloween-themed grammar worksheet tasks pupils with circling the adjective that describes the underlined noun.
Get it here.
While we’re looking at all things scary, this interactive BBC Bitesize entry on adjectives includes a video, a quiz and an interactive story about a scary, smelly yeti where children highlight the adjectives.
Check it all out here.
Similarly, this interactive game offers children a number of sentences and asks them to pick out the adjectives. Handily, it explains to them why they’re wrong if they pick an incorrect word, and tells them what category that word falls under.
Give it a play here.
This simple little worksheet asks pupils to think of three more-exciting synonyms for the adjectives nice, kind, small, hot, cold and scary. Then, as an extension, write a sentence for each word they’ve just come up with.
These adjectives worksheets take students through the rules of adding the suffixes -er and -est.
The first looks at the basics, asking children to fill in sentences by adding the correct suffix of these two, and explains how with words that end in ‘e’ we drop the ‘e’ before adding the ‘-er’ or ‘-est’.
The second sheet looks at words like ‘hot’ or ‘wet’, where we double the last letter before adding the suffix, and how we change words that end in a ‘y’ to be spelt with an ‘i’ before adding ‘-er’ or ‘-est’.
Click these links to get sheet 1 and sheet 2.
This nifty little interactive resource lets children play the role of editor at a book publishers. Their job is to go through a story called The Sea Cave and make the language more exciting and descriptive.
First they have to choose better nouns from a drop down menu, to help create a spooky and tense atmosphere. Next, they get to add adjectives to those nouns to make the tale even better.
And if you want to continue, children can then choose the best image to illustrate the story on each page, then read or print the final version. There’s even a worksheet to print where they can edit another story.
Give it a go here.
This BBC Skillswise page features a video, two downloadable factsheets and four downloadable worksheets on adjective.
The activities include identifying multiple adjectives, describing an object you’re trying to find in lost property and writing an advert.
If you’re looking to take your adjective work further, we’ve already done some resource roundups for noun phrases and expanded noun phrases.
This list features activities, worksheets and ideas for your Year 1 and 2 students.
Give it a look here.
And if it’s Years 3-6 you’re teaching, you’ll find eight great resources for expanded noun phrases in this list post.
Click here to take a peek.
Everything you need for every subject across Key Stages 1 and 2.