It’s generally agreed that knowing the meaning and usage of over ten thousand words of a language can qualify the speaker as fluent in that particular language. We may not be aware of it, but the majority of us know around that amount in our native language. A great deal of those words are adjectives – the primary function of which is to describe a noun or pronoun.
They are essential in learning any language, but it can also be a tedious process. Does anyone have the patience to simply look at a list of adjectives, memorize it, take a test on it, and then go out and use it in a conversation with a stranger? Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a boring process.
Nowadays, there are numerous games available to help ESL students learn and master adjectives in a fun and memorable way. The following are just some examples of these activities:
Split your class or students into one half. Line them up in front of a table with a piece of paper and a pencil. Show them a photograph – a panoramic view of Los Angeles, a close-up shot of Ingrid Bergman, etc. – and ask the person at the front of the line to write as many adjectives as they can within a minute. At the end of each round, the person at the front goes to the back, and the next person in line takes over. The team with the most adjectives on the paper wins.
Complicate the Sentence
This game can be done with a whiteboard, a sheet of paper, or even just oral dictation. Start the game with a simple sentence. The cat ate food. After giving the students this sentence, ask them to add an adjective to the sentence to make it more complicated and interesting. The old cat ate food. This will also teach them a bit more about grammar, as it teaches them the correct place to put the adjective in the sentence.
This can be done using your phone, tablet or computer and some saved images. Or, you can go the extra mile, and bring some sample colors from the local hardware store. Show the students different shades or hues of colors, and ask them to associate each shade with an adjective. Crimson is fierce. Cyan is fancy.
The Adjective Cupid
Divide the class into pairs. Each student will come up with adjectives to describe an individual in their family, and then they’ll compare their descriptions with their partner. This can be fun, as it involves thinking about one’s own family, in addition to learning more about fellow students.
Mix Your Adjectives
Divide the class into pairs. One person writes an adjective on a sticky note, while the other writes a noun on their respective note. When everyone is done with this portion of the activity, have them all switch partners until none remain with their original partner. The new pair reveal their noun and adjective to each other, and they must decide if their descriptor still makes sense or not.
These are just five of the many games that teachers can utilize in teaching their students some more adjectives in a fun and entertaining way.