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The Power of Adjectives


Submitted by: Luann Wieland  

Grades: 4th-8th

Time:   1-2 hours


You know what adjectives are; they are words that are used to modify a noun. Some adjectives are complimentary, like beautiful, captivating, and inspirational. Some are negative, such as incompetent, mean, and stinky. Still others, like yellow, expensive, and aging, can be neutral. In this lesson, you'll have your students learn about adjectives by having them use them the exact opposite way they were meant to be used. They'll use positive and flattering words to describe something they dislike, or use negative terms to describe something they like. This will demonstrate how much adjectives can impact the tone of a piece of writing.



Word list, and either paper/pens or access to a computer.



To understand the power of adjectives.

To learn the way an adjective is used in a sentence.

To improve overall writing skills.



Have each student write a one-page essay describing something or someone they really, really like, like a favorite relative, pet, or sports team, or something or someone they really, really, dislike, like a boring movie, annoying public figure, or outing gone bad. Here's the twist; if they choose to describe something they like, they must use ten negative adjectives, and if they choose to describe something they don't like they must use ten positive adjectives. This will show them how tricky it is to get across an idea hampered by the wrong adjectives!

Here are a suggested list of negative adjectives, for those who choose subjects they like: Nasty, Ugly, Foul-Smelling, Boring, Stupid, Evil, Horrible, Creepy, Lazy, Annoying

Here are a suggested list of positive adjectives, for those who choose subjects they dislike: Cheerful, Pleasant, Lovely, Fresh, Powerful, Loyal, Wonderful, Attractive, Amazing, Favorite

Have several of the kids read their essays aloud; they should be pretty funny.



Normal evaluation methods that apply in any writing assignment; spelling, grammar, composition. Students must incorporate all ten words (or ten comparable words) in their assessment.