Cody Valdes Cody Valdes

TP3a -- Adjective Order -- Valdes 6-3
B2 - Upper-Intermediate level


In this lesson, students raise their awareness of adjective order through a guided discovery lesson. First they activate schemata about using adjectives and revisit a prior reading to identify adjective use in a familiar authentic text. Then they deduce the significance or presence of the target language convention from marker sentences, then practice adjective ordering through a controlled exercise. Lastly they play a game to practice producing well-ordered series of adjectives both written and verbal.


Abc M2 - Gap-fill handout
Abc M3 - Adjective Order Guide
Abc M0 - Admire, Hate, Want to Own
Abc M1 - Harmless fun of celebrity worship
Abc M4 - Advertisement improvements

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and raise awareness about the order of adjectives.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To practice speaking with correct adjective order.


Lead-in/Test: Adding Adjectives (2-3 minutes) • To motivate ss and test and learn their needs

Start class with adding adjectives activity on w/b. Write "I bought this .... book" on w/b with long gap in sentence, solicit suggestions of adjectives, then write in gap. Take a second, act stumped, ask class whether it goes before or after. Take a third and let class rearrange entire triplet if necessary. Try another sentence. Ask, "How do we know what order adjectives go?" "What do you do if you want to say more than one thing about something?" In groups of 3-4, ss identify three situations where they need to use many adjectives at once in English. Briefly take w/c FB.

Admire, Hate, Want to Own (2-3 minutes) • To generate adjectives and set up post-Guided Discovery productive activity

Ask ss to write down one person they admire, one thing they hate, and one thing they want to own. Then give 2 mins to write as many adjectives as they can to describe them.

Harmless fun of celebrity worship (2-3 minutes) • To focus ss on use of adjectives in authentic text & refresh memory of text, the context for guided discovery

Ss take 2 minutes to skim read article underlining adjectives, then compare their findings with a partner.

Guided Discovery (12-14 minutes) • Raise ss awareness of conventions for adjective order.

Using marker sentences from reading, students work in pairs to do gap-fill exercise to discover three rules of thumb for adjective order: 1) opinion before facts, 2) general quality before specific type, and 3) superlative first. T reviews w/c, eliciting rules of thumb and writing on w/b. W/b also contains Adjective Order Chart that ss help fill in. T then gives Ss completed chart and asks to do example.

Post-Guided Discovery Exercise - Advertisement Improvements (6-7 minutes) • To let students consolidate their understanding of adjective order through controlled exercises

Give ss controlled exercise to insert adjectives into advertisements, working in pairs. They can consult Adjective Order Guideline. Have ss consult answer key on wall.

Adjective Competition (10-12 minutes) • To let students practice producing descriptions using correct adjective order and speaking them

Ss do a semi-controlled writing/speaking game. In teams of 3-4, ss retrieve their Admire, Hate, and Want to Own words with accompanying adjectives. The game is to work as a team to create strings of adjectives and use them in a sentence for points - more adjectives, more points, to a maximum of 4 per sentence. Teams get 3 minutes at start to generate their phrases using their members' words. In w/c, T calls on group to say their sentence, writing on w/b. Emphasize that they only get one chance to say the phrase w/c. If a team attempts a phrase and blunders, they lose points according to the number of adjectives they tried to use. After a team gives a phrase, another team can 'steal' their points by repeating the phrase with an additional adjective within 30 seconds - but risks losing the number of points if they make a mistake. As they strategize in groups for 30 seconds, ss will effectively be doing a semi-controlled speaking exercise as they rework the first group's sentence. T will referee with Adjective Order Guide and give benefit of doubt on orderings that could go either way. Play until teams have done 2 rounds each.

Story Making (4-6 minutes) • To practice speaking with multiple adjectives accurately.

For a freer speaking exercise, ss get in small groups and create a continuous story. Going around in a circle, each S contributes one sentence that uses 2+ adjectives. Sentences should be simple so that ss can focus on correctly ordering adjectives. Demo w/ a student: "I saw a cute small brown dog in the park." (pass 'ball'). "The dog was chasing an angry old black cat up a tree". "The attractive young owner of the cat looked at me angrily." Let ss do this until stories fizzling. Conclude lesson with w/c FB, asking ss how easy/difficult it is to know what order to use adjectives in and providing any EC.

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