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WT 354 Understanding Our Language

Teacher Tips and Answers


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A noun names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea.

  coach  Chicago  beagle  love

Kinds of Nouns

Common Nouns

A common noun names any person, place, thing, or idea.

  teacher  school  class  math

Proper Nouns

A proper noun names a specific person, place, thing, or idea. Proper nouns are capitalized.

  Eli  the Pentagon  the Bucks  Islam

Singular Nouns

A singular noun names one person, place, thing, or idea.

  cousin  park  pencil  moral

Plural Nouns

A plural noun names more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

  cousins  parks  pencils  morals

Possessive Nouns

A possessive noun shows ownership.

  My dog’s collar is shiny red.

  (Add ’s to form most singular possessives.)

  My cats’ collars are green and blue.

  (Add only  to form most plural possessives.)

Lunch Menu
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A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun.

  Beth said she would come to my birthday party.

  (The pronoun she replaces the noun Beth.)

  My cake is ready, and Mom will pick it up.

  (The pronoun it replaces the noun cake.)

Kinds of Pronouns

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun shows ownership.

  Gato left his fur on the love seat.

  (Gato’s fur)

  Our love seat needs to be vacuumed.

  (The family’s love seat)

Common Personal Pronouns

Singular Pronouns Plural Pronouns

I, me, my, mine,

we, us, our, ours,

you, your, yours,

you, your, yours,

he, him, his,

she, her, hers,

it, its

they, them, their, theirs

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A verb shows action or links two ideas in a sentence.

  I jump my bike off the ramp for three feet of air.

  I am thrilled and a little terrified.

Types of Verbs

Action Verbs

An action verb tells what the subject is doing.

  A robin hunts worms in our yard.

  The worms flee underground like people running from Godzilla.

Linking Verbs

A linking verb links the subject to a word in the predicate part of a sentence. (The predicate tells what the subject is or does.)

  The robin is a giant monster.

  (The verb is links robin to monster.)

  The worms are afraid.

  (The verb are links worms to afraid.)

Linking Verbs:

  is, am, are, was, were, be, been

Helping Verbs

A helping verb comes before the main verb, and it helps state an action or show time.

  I will scare the robin away.

  (Will helps the main action verb scare.)

  The worms will call me “Mothra.”

  (Will helps the main linking verb call.)

Helping Verbs:

  has, have, had, will, could, should, would, do, did, may, can

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Tenses of Verbs

The tense of a verb tells when an action takes place. Tense is often shown by endings (lives, lived) and by helping verbs (will live, has lived).

Present Tense Verbs

Present tense means the action is happening now or that it happens all of the time.

  Latrice loves soccer.

  Her friends want to form a team.

Past Tense Verbs

Past tense means the action happened before, or in the past.

  Yesterday they played in the park.

  The girls learned new footwork.

Future Tense Verbs

Future tense means the action will take place at a later time, or in the future.

  Tomorrow Latrice will play goalie.

  The girls will challenge another team.

Some verbs tell the time of the action in other ways.

  Latrice has played for three years.

  The team is planning a tournament.

  The soccer field had been a baseball diamond.

Soccer Ball
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Forms of Verbs

Singular Verbs

The verb in a sentence must agree, or make sense, with the subject. Use a singular verb when the subject is singular. Remember that singular means “one.”

  Derrick folds paper airplanes.

  (Folds is a singular verb.)

  He holds flying competitions.

  (Holds is a singular verb.)

Plural Verbs

Use a plural verb when the subject is plural. Remember that plural means “more than one.”

  His planes fill a shelf in his room.

  (Fill is a plural verb.)

  They vary from gliders to stunt planes.

  (Vary is a plural verb.)

Regular Verbs

Regular verbs add ed to form the past tense.

  He invents. Yesterday he invented.

  We watch. We have watched.

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs change to form the past tense. (See the next page for a chart.)

  I see. I saw. I have seen.

  We fly. We flew. We have flown.

The most common irregular verb is be. Different forms of the verb include am, is, are, was, were, and been.

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Common Irregular Verbs

Irregular Verbs
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An adjective is a word that describes a noun or a pronoun. Adjectives tell what kind, how many, or which one.

  Most alligators live in coastal marshes.

  (An adjective usually comes before the word it describes.)

  Alligators in Louisiana bayous are legendary.

  (An adjective may come after a linking verb like is or are.)


The articles a, an, and the are adjectives.

  An alligator is an American reptile.

  (An is used before words beginning with a vowel sound.)

  A crocodile is a relative in Africa.

  (A is used before words beginning with a consonant sound.)

Kinds of Adjectives

Proper Adjectives

Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns. They are always capitalized.

   I spotted an American alligator.

Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives are made up of more than one word. Some are spelled as one word, and some are hyphenated.

  It lived in a wetland habitat.

  Alligators are meat-eating reptiles.

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Forms of Adjectives

Positive Adjectives

Positive adjectives describe without making a comparison.

  A mastiff is a massive dog.

Comparative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives compare two people, places, things, or ideas.

  Maltese are smaller than pugs.

  (Comparative adjectives often end in er.)

  Rottweilers are more muscular than golden retrievers.

  (The word more is used before some adjectives with two or more syllables.)

Superlative Adjectives

Superlative adjectives compare three or more people, places, things, or ideas.

  That Great Dane is the tallest dog I have ever seen.

  (Superlative adjectives often end in est.)

  Collies are among the most intelligent dogs.

  (The word most is used before some adjectives with two or more syllables.)

Irregular Forms of Adjectives

Irregular adjectives change to create comparative and superlative forms.













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Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Adverbs tell when, where, or how an action is done.

  Snakes slither expertly without needing legs.

  They push repeatedly on the ground with their coils.

Adverbs often end with ly, but not always. Words like not, never, very, and always are common adverbs.

Kinds of Adverbs

Adverbs of Time (When)

Adverbs of time tell when or how often an action is done.

  Snakes often shed their old skin.

  A growing snake could molt monthly.

Adverbs of Place (Where)

Adverbs of place tell where something happens.

  Snakes live almost everywhere.

  Sidewinders move sideways.

Adverbs of Manner (How)

Adverbs of manner tell how something is done.

  Rattlesnakes move cautiously.

  Their tails rattle angrily.

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Prepositions tell position or direction. They often introduce prepositional phrases.

  Tiger slept under the desk.

  (Under tells position.)

  Remington jumped onto the desk.

  (Onto tells direction.)

Prepositional Phrases

A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronoun.

  Gato hides inside the drawer.

  Sforzando lurks near the desk.


Common Prepositions
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Conjunctions connect words or groups of words.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect equal words, phrases, or clauses:

  and  but  or  nor  for  so  yet

  We splashed and ran.

  (And connects two equal words.)

  We played with the hose and in the sprinkler.

  (And connects two equal phrases.)

  We wore sunscreen but we still got a little red.

  (But connects two equal clauses.)

Other Conjunctions

Other conjunctions show that one idea is less important than another:

  after  before  until  where  because  since  when  while

  I catch fireflies when it gets dark.

  (When it gets dark is less important.)

  I let each one go after I make a wish.

  (After I make a wish is less important.)


An interjection is a word or phrase used to express strong emotion or surprise. It is followed by an exclamation point or by a comma.

  Yay! Woot!  Wow, I made seven wishes!

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English Language Arts:

Lesson Plan Resources:

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Vocabulary List:
  • parts of speech: eight ways words can function in a sentence: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, or interjection

Vocabulary List:
  • noun: word for a person, a place, a thing, or an idea

  • common noun: nonspecific person, place, thing, or idea

  • proper noun: name of a specific person, place, thing, or idea—capitalized

  • singular noun: word referring to one person, place, thing, or idea

  • plural noun: word referring to more than one person, place, thing, or idea

  • possessive noun: word that shows ownership

Vocabulary List:
  • pronoun: word that takes the place of a noun

  • possessive pronoun: pronoun that shows ownership

Vocabulary List:
  • verb: word that expresses action or a state of being

  • action verb: word that tells what the subject is doing

  • linking verb: word that connects the subject to a noun or adjective in the predicate

  • helping verb: word that works with the main verb to create tense

Vocabulary List:
  • tense: when an action happens: past, present, or future

  • present tense: action happening now or all the time

  • past tense: action that happened before now

  • future tense: action that will happen later

Vocabulary List:
  • singular verb: verb used with a singular subject

  • plural verb: verb used with a plural subject

  • regular verb: verb that forms the past tense by adding ed

  • irregular verb: verb that creates the past tense by changing forms

Vocabulary List:
  • adjective: word that describes a noun

  • articles: the adjectives a, an, and the

  • proper adjective: adjective formed from a proper noun—capitalized

  • compound adjective: adjective formed from more than one word, sometimes spelled together and sometimes hyphenated

Vocabulary List:
  • positive adjective: word that describes without comparing

  • comparative adjective: word that describes by comparing two subjects

  • superlative adjective: word that describes by comparing to more than one subject

  • irregular adjective: word that changes to make comparative and superlative forms

Vocabulary List:
  • adverb: word that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb

  • adverb of time: modifier that tells when

  • adverb of place: modifier that tells where

  • adverb of manner: modifier that tells how

Vocabulary List:
  • preposition: word that tells position or direction

  • prepositional phrase: phrase that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun—functioning as an adjective or adverb

Vocabulary List:
  • conjunction: word that connects ideas

  • coordinating conjunction: word that connects equal words, phrases, or clauses

  • interjection: word that expresses emotion

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