adjectives before nouns

Level: Beginning to Advanced

Age: pre-school through adult 


This lesson plan is highly adaptable; it all depends on which adjectives you choose!  For learners beyond the beginning stage, the goal will be only on vocabulary since these learners will already know that adjectives go before nouns in English. 


As written, the lesson plan is for beginners with adjectives of basic colors.  For more advanced learners, you would change the pictures and introduce more obscure color names like beige, magenta, turquoise, maroon, peach.  You could go beyond colors to patterns, materials and styles: striped, polka-dotted, plaid, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, sleeveless, v-neck, scoop neck, zip-up, button-up, cotton, linen, polyester, etc.  (Be careful, though, in case students try to use more than one adjective at once.  Stacked adjectives have their own rules!)  You also don’t have to use shirts.  Just think of the adjectives you want to introduce to figure out what works best with them.


Student Learning Outcomes: 

·    Students will be able to understand selected adjectives (vocabulary)

·    Students will be able to correctly position adjectives before nouns (grammar)


Print out as many sets of pictures as you have students.  Cut them out.  (If you don’t have access to a printer, you can cut out pictures from magazines or draw pictures on notecards.)








Look at the series of pictures together.  Do any of the pictures match what any of the students are wearing? Do students already know any of the color names?



Vocabulary and structure 

Hold up one picture and ask, “What color is this shirt?”  If a student answers correctly, say, “Yes, it is a red shirt.”  Then have everyone repeat the sentence, “It is a red shirt.”  Ask what else in the room is red?  (You may need to help students get started by pointing out something yourself.)  Make sure you repeat the color with each object students identify.  (“That’s right!  That is a red pen.”)


Go through all the pictures in the same way one at a time.


Go back through the pictures as a review.




Lay out the pictures.  Call on individual students to “find the red shirt”, etc.  Students point to the appropriate picture.



Vocabulary and structure 

Gather pictures.  Shuffle.  Distribute one to each student, face-down.  As you call on each student, they turn over the picture and make a complete sentence, saying, for example, “This is a red shirt.”



Vocabulary and structure

Pair students.  Give each pair a stack of pictures upside down.  They take turns flipping over the top picture, saying the appropriate sentence, for example, “This is a blue shirt.”  You walk from pair to pair, monitoring.


by: sandra issa, m.a.tesol, m.a. theoretical linguistics

associate director for student services

director, tefl certification program