Alexandra van den Heever Alexandra van den Heever

Gradable and Non-Gradable Adjectives 11.13.14
Intermediate level


In this lesson, we will be going over gradable and non-gradable adjectives in order to understand the difference, and see how adverbs affect this. This will help students be able to speak about emotions in dramatic situations. Listening and speaking practice will help students use correct intonation and stress to help get their meaning across.


Abc CD player
Abc Scan from textbook

Main Aims

  • To understand the difference between gradable and non-gradable adjectives

Subsidiary Aims

  • To use gradable/non-gradable adjectives to speak about emotions in dramatic situations using appropriate stress and intonation


VOCABULARY #1 (6-9 minutes) • to be sure that students understand the difference between gradable and non-gradable adjectives, and know which adverbs can be paired with them

Explain that some adjectives are gradable while others are non-gradable, and that the adverbs you can use with them vary. Go through Activity 1 with the class. Encourage them to say the sentences out loud to get a feel for what they sound like. Activity 1 answers: 1. extremely, fairly, really, very 2. absolutely, really 3. really 4. He said, "This is absolutely incredible!"

VOCABULARY #2 (5-7 minutes) • To ensure that students are have understood the difference between gradable and non-gradable adjectives, and can pick two words with similar meanings and understand why one is gradable and the other is non-gradable.

Go through adjectives in the word bank and be sure that the students understand the meaning of the words so they can discern which adjectives have similar meanings. Complete Activity 2: Ask students to work in pairs to pick which words have similar meanings. Then explain that each pair of words, one adjective will be gradable and the other non-gradable. Then they must put those words into a chart of non-gradable and gradable adjectives. Activity 2 answers: Gradable - Non-gradable angry - furious surprised - astonished hot - boiling cold - freezing dirty - filthy exciting - thrilling tired - exhausted interesting - fascinating frightened - terrified funny - hilarious pretty - gorgeous

VOCABULARY #3 (5-6 minutes) • Ensure that students can use gradable/non-gradable adjectives learned in a sentence, and pair them with appropriate adverbs

Go through Activity 3 with class. Be sure they know why "absolutely boiling" was used. Ask them to write 3-5 sentences that use gradable/non-gradable adjectives (maybe less if time is short). Monitor to be sure that the activity is going well and to help any students who need it. If the activity is not going well, refer to anticipated problems section of lesson plan.

PRONUNCIATION #1 (2-3 minutes) • To ensure that students can use intonation to emphasize meaning when using gradable/non-gradable adjective

Play the recording 1.10 and ask students to identify gradable and non-gradable adjectives in the exchanges. (They listen and refer to sentences in textbook) Ask students to listen to the intonation of speaker. Ask what they notice? Speakers emphasize adjectives (to enhance meaning and make sentence more dramatic and exciting) Read sentences to students WITHOUT intonation so they can see the difference

PRONUNCIATION #2 (7-9 minutes) • To ensure that students are able to listen and convert a gradable adjective to a non-gradable adjective with a similar meaning, and use proper intonation

Students listen to CD 1.11 and respond to the sentences (which have gradable adjectives) with non-gradable adjectives. Students then work in pairs and come up with similar sentences. They can use adjectives from Activity 2 Possible listening activity answers: "It's very hot in here" - Hot? It's absolutely boiling! "He's very angry" - Angry? He's absolutely furious! "She's very pretty" - Pretty? She's absolutely gorgeous! "My car's very dirty" - Dirty? It's absolutely filthy! "They're very tired" - Tired? They're absolutely exhausted! "This lesson is interesting" - Interesting? It's absolutely fascinating!

SPEAKING #1 (6-8 minutes) • Allow students to practice speaking about their emotions using gradable and non-gradable adjectives, based on the contexts given in the examples

Ask students how they would feel on a rollercoaster, like in the picture in the textbook. Go through emotions in the word box and make sure that everyone understands them. Put them in pairs and have them pick an emotion from the box in each example. They don't need to agree on an emotion, but they should tell each other how they feel while using the proper adverbs to describe the adjectives they choose.

SPEAKING #2 (2-3 minutes) • To allow students to practice conversation and speaking about strong emotional experiences

Pair work - Look at the examples and figure out what you have actually experienced. Find what you have in common with partner. Tell your partner which experience you found most exciting.

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