Adjectives: definition and use…

An adjective is a kind of word, its job is to give us more information about a noun.

Adjectives describe nouns by giving information about its size, shape, age, colour, origin or material. In its simplest form an adjective can be found in a simple statement such as:

The soup is hot.
The glass was dirty

‘Soup’ and ‘glass’ are both nouns; ‘hot’ and ‘dirty’ are the adjectives which describe those nouns, increasing the information that we have about each of them. Within the context of a written passage an adjective will usually be found immediately before a noun.

In the sentence below  the nouns are ‘dog’ and ‘street’ The words that give us extra information about these nouns are ‘old and ‘dusty’ these words are adjectives.

The old dog walked down the dusty street.

We can, of course, use more than one adjective to describe a noun; when we do this, the adjectives are separated by commas. The commas go between the adjectives. Note there is no comma between the last adjective in the list and the following noun.

The old, brown dog walked down the dark, dusty street.

Why use adjectives?

Well, if you look at this cynically and clinically, using adjectives moves the standard of a pupil’s written work from Level 2 into the Level 3 camp. However, the use of adjectives also enables the writer to begin to affect the way the reader feels about the characters and events unfolding in the text.

The happy, smiling children watched as the warm sun rose over the green, rolling hills.

… can be  placed in apparent danger by simply substituting more evocative, ominous adjectives for the ones in the original sentence. This has the effect of creating tension – perhaps makes the reader wonder what might be about to happen…

The cold, shivering children watched as the feeble sun rose over the dark, ominous hills.

Pupils should be encouraged to use adjectives as the first step towards developing style…

Calculation Balance

Calculation Balance by

An excellent site for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division practice. Good for learning your times tables. Also it is a useful tool for teachers to demonstrate balancing simple equations.

Pupils are offered a number of screens with a pair of scales. In one of the pans is a sum or equation. The pupil’s task is to adjust the value in the other pan to make the scales balance.

Includes activities with number bonds, times tables, division facts, sums as words in a variety of different ranges of numbers – within 10, within 20 and tables/division facts in 2x, 3x,4x, 5x and up to 10×10.

This activity is Flash based and is great for desktop computers and interactive whiteboards but may nor work on some mobile devices and tablets

Calculation Balance by

The Adjective Detective
…all about adjectives

An interactive resource explaining adjectives, their function and use. The first section explains the use of adjectives and they placement both before a noun and after a noun using a ‘helper’ verb.

It goes on to further explain both comparative and superlative adjectives, the way they are formed and their use.

There is also an interactive quiz and a game for students to play in which adjectives need to be identified to progress through the game. This is a Flash based resource suitable for use on desk top computers and thus interactive whiteboards; it may not be suitable for use on all hand held devices or tablets.

Adjective Detective by the University of Manchester

Writing Instructions

This excellent activity for 7-9 year olds presents four opportunities for pupils to write/create a set of simple instructions. Pupils can choose from the multiple choice sentences to write their own instructions for simple tasks such as making a sandwich and putting up a tent.

This scaffolding activity can help pupils to see how they need to think carefully when writing instructions. Feedback is instant and explains wrong choices and guides pupils towards creating a piece of instructional text that would produce a successful result.

It would be useful to have a range of similar simple instruction writing activities prepared as a follow on activity. This would be great for working through as a discussion activity on an IWB but as it is Flash based activity and as such may not work on certain tablets and other hand held devices.

Writing Instructions by


Writing Fiction – planning a story

This is a bank of writing prompts and planners designed to help pupils with the writing of fiction. They are free to download for printing and come mainly in PDF or MS Word file formats.

They are ideal for helping with the teaching the basics of fiction writing as part of the Key Stage 2 English Curriculum.  They could also be used to teach and/or promote the use of paragraphing and story development.

The variety of different styles of planners makes it most likely that there will be one that can be adapted for any purpose. Worth a look.

Writing Fiction by