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compound adjectives
Upper-intermediate level


In this lesson, students learn about compound adjectives. The context is signatures and what they tell about personality. The lesson begins with students' predictions about teacher's personality by looking at her signature. Then the teacher elicits the meaning, form and appropriacy of compound adjectives with the help of a matching activity and then students do a controlled practice on the hand-out. Finally, students are asked to talk about some people who have these adjectives as their characters.


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Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of compound adjectives in the context of personality prediction through signature interpretation

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in a conversation in the context of personality traits


Warmer/Lead-in (2-3 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Tell students that it is your first lesson with them and they do not know you. Tell them that you will put your signature to the board and they will make predictions about your personality by looking at the signature as they have learnt in the previous lesson. You will say "true" or "false" after each prediction.

Exposure (3-4 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Ask students to look at 3 extracts from what they have listened before. They will try to remember and write the gapped words in pairs. Get some students' ideas. Do not correct them if they say wrong words. Tell students that they will listen and check their answers. Nominate some students to get the correct answers.

Clarification (15-20 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

Give compound adjectives hand-outs to students and tell them they will match each sentence with an adjective in pairs. They need to do this in 2-3 minutes to get the meaning of adjectives. Bring two pairs together to compare their matching in 1-2 minutes. Get answers from different pairs and write them on the board. If they give incorrect answers, ask others whether they agree so that elicit the correct answer. After writing each of them, ask whether they have positive or negative meaning and put "+" or "-" signs next to them. To clarify the form, ask what part of speech are these words (adjectives), how many parts these words have (2 words), and how they end (with "-ed" or "-ing"). For pronunciation clarification, tell students that they will hear the words and repeat. Play the audio so that students can listen and repeat. Ask where the stress is in all of these adjectives and elicit the answer (2nd word). Finally, ask whether there is a difference between "easy-going" and "laid-back" and help students discover that the latter is informal.

Controlled Practice (6-8 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Give students exercise hand-outs and tell that they will fill in the gaps in the paragraph about a person who tells the traits of the woman he looks for. They will fill in the gaps with the adjectives in the previous hand-out. They will do this activity in 4-5 minutes. ask some questions for instruction-checking ("What are you going to write in the gaps?", "Where are you going to find the words?", "How many minutes do you have?", "Are you going to do this with your partner?"). Pair up students and ask them to compare their answers in 1 minute. Get answers from different students. Do not confirm immediately. Ask others if they agree.

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Tell students that they will gossip. In pairs, they will mention about the people with the characteristics in the first hand-out. They need to mention at least 2 characteristics and tell their reasons. Remind that they may talk about famous people, too. As an example, talk about yourself and a famous person with a compound adjective ("For example, I am never a self-confident person. Even when I know something, I get nervous and think that I cannot do it. I can be self-confident only if I practice a lot before doing something." and "Atatürk was a strong-willed soldier. He decided to make his country independent and finally achieved to do so despite all difficulties.") Listen to pairs and give feedback on good examples and elicit mistakes.

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