Lesson plan

Parts of Speech and Using Suffixes to Turn Adjectives Into Nouns

This engaging lesson will revisit the basic parts of speech and address why some words have can have more than one part of speech. Students will then enjoy a fun group challenge to turn adjectives into nouns by modifying the word endings.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will review parts of speech.
  • Students will learn about abstract nouns like “kindness” and “honesty”.
  • Students will learn to use suffixes to convert adjectives into nouns.
(10 minutes)
  • Review nouns: What is a noun? In partners or small groups, have students discuss and write their definitions on scratch paper and then write as many examples of nouns as they can in one minute. At the end of one minute, have each group share out their definition and two to three nouns. Most students will say that nouns are words that represent a person, place, or thing.
  • Have students circle all of the nouns that are examples of people.
  • Have students underline all of the nouns that are places.
  • Have students highlight all of the nouns that are things.
  • If students didn’t include this in their definition, explain that there is one other kind of noun, and that is an abstract noun, an idea or quality (for example, happiness, racism, curiosity). Explain to the students that abstract nouns are also “things,” but they are not tangible: you can’t really see or touch them.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that words have “jobs” in sentences. Their jobs are called parts of speech. If a word is naming a person, place, or thing, it is doing the work of a noun. If a word is representing the action, it is doing the work of a verb. Give the example of the word “cook.” In the following sentence it’s doing the work of a noun because it represents a person: The cook made a delicious meal. However, in another sentence it’s doing the work of a verb because it is showing action: I will cook you a delicious meal.
  • Distribute the Reviewing Parts of Speech worksheet. Review the different parts of speech and have students generate examples of the parts of speech listed. Then do part two of the worksheet, reviewing the instructions and example provided. Have students work in partners or small groups to provide three more examples of words that can have different parts of speech.
  • Explain that just as one word can have different parts of speech depending on how it is used in a sentence, we as writers can add suffixes so the words can do different jobs; we can change their part of speech.
(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that you are going to teach them how to turn adjectives into nouns just by adding a suffix to it.
  • Distribute suffix cards to each group.
  • Announce the following adjectives, one by one. Have groups work together to decide how the end of the word can be changed with the suffixes on the cards to turn the word into a noun. These will be abstract nouns and sometimes the spelling of the root will change (foul → filth).

Suggested adjectives: Happy (happiness), long (length), real (reality), favorite (favoritism), mobile (mobility), imperial (imperialism), quiet (quietness), mobile (mobility), wide (width), useful (usefulness), sleepy (sleepiness), active (activity), tranquil (tranquility), ideal (idealism), foul (filth), long (length), different (difference), private (privacy), truthful (truthfulness), colonial (colonialism), difficult (difficulty), honest (honesty,) jealous (jealousy), kind (kindness), curious (curiosity), dead (death), stupid (stupidity)

  • Groups should discuss to determine the correct ending that will turn the given adjective into a noun and then one group representative should hold up the card they think is correct.
  • Reveal the correct answer to the class and discuss if necessary.
  • Repeat with more adjectives.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students work in their groups to generate a list of three or more adjectives that can be transformed into nouns using the suffixes on their cards.
  • Pass a list of their words to another group.
  • Have each group use the suffixes to transform the adjectives into nouns. Write the solutions on paper and hand the paper back to the group that gave them the words to check their answers.
  • Support: Do the first few examples as a class before having groups translate the adjectives into nouns.
  • Enrichment: Have students generate a list of verbs and then change those verbs into nouns. See if they can identify the suffixes used to turn verbs into nouns.
(15 minutes)
(10 minutes)

Have groups share the last activity. Tell students to share the words that they received from the other group and the solutions they generated. Some groups may struggle, provide an incorrect answer, or find themselves unable to determine a solution. That is fine —use this as a teachable moment.

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