Spelling, Pronouns, Parallelism, Adjectives and Adverbs- Get Grammar Done!

Here are some additional grammar concepts as conveyed from my classmates and based on topics from English Brushup by John Langan and Janet M. Goldstein.  Included are various websites and activities ideal for English Language Learners.  Enjoy!


Hints for spelling better:

  1. Use aides- dictionaries or spell check on computers
  2. Keep a spelling list of all misspelled words. Show what is the correct spelling, and then give a clue or reason why it should be that way.
  3. Learn the most commonly confusing words and memorize them. (where / were, to / too, its / it’s)
  4. Apply basic spelling rules
  • I before E except after C, or when sounded like an A, as in neighbor and weigh.
  • Silent E rule: drop the ‘e’ before adding an ending- guide –ance = guidance
  • Y rule: change the ‘y’ to an ‘I’ when the last 2 letters of the word are a consonant plus ‘y’, OR the ending being added begins with a vowel or is ‘ful’ ‘ly’ or ‘ness’
    • Fly +es = flies
    • Try +ed = tried
    • Plenty + ful = plentiful
  • Doubling rule: double the final consonant of the word when
    • The last 3 letters of the word are a consonant, a vowel, and a consonant (CVC)
    • The word is only one syllable
    • The ending being added begins with a vowel
      • Stop + ed = stopped
      • Begin + ing = beginning
      • Red + est = reddest

–        Spelling in English is quite difficult. I can see how a student who is learning English would struggle with these spelling rules. As a high school teacher, I see many native English speakers who still struggle spelling correctly.

–        A fun spelling practice site – http://www.manythings.org/e/spelling.html


Pronouns! Pronouns are tricky, especially for new language learners. Remember, there are different types of pronouns:

1. Subject pronouns

2. Object pronouns

3. Possessive pronouns

4. Relative pronouns

5. Demonstrative pronouns

6. Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

7. Interrogative Pronouns

8. Indefinite pronouns

Essentially, there are tons of pronouns to learn! Are you confused it? And in actuality, they are not that difficult to classify. For example, indefinite pronouns refer to a pronoun that does not identify a specific object.


Parallelism “Two or more equal ideas should be expressed in parallel, or matching, form. The ideas will then read smoothly and naturally.” (p. 174)

“Faulty parallelism is jarring and awkward to read. “ Ex. The bowel was filled with crisp apples, juicy oranges, and bananas that were ripe.

The above sentence could be changed to: The bowel was filled with crisp apples, juicy oranges, and ripe bananas.

When To Use Parallelism:

1. A series of items

2. Offering choices

3. Making a point

Here is a little more info on teaching parallelism:

http://esl.about.com/od/writingstyle/a/w_parallel.htm (For more advanced ESL students)

This article is a little more basic and has a link to a worksheet to practice parallelism.  The worksheet has a nice answer key with explanations that students may be able to use on their own to check their work.    http://www.eslwriting.org/294/parallel-sentence-structure/


As we all know by now, adjectives describe nouns; that is, people, places, or things

-Found in two places

-Before the word it describes (a stinky dog)

-After a linking verb

-May be the verb be (I am stinky)

                                    –Or others such as feel, look, sound, smell, taste, appear, seem, grow, remain, and become (I feel stinky)

Adjectives are often used in comparisons and change form when they do so

-Add –er to shorter adjectives (one syllable ones) comparing two things

-Add –est­ when comparing three or more things


No need to change form of adjectives with two or more syllables.  Instead, use more to compare two things and most to compare three or more things

Another note:

Never use –er ending and more; same goes for –est and ­most

And another note:

Certain adjectives have irregular forms

  Comparing 2 Comparing 3 or more
bad worse worst
good, well better best
little less least
much, many more most

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs

-Most end in ly

                        –The clerk spoke to me rudely

                        –The clerk spoke to me very rudely (very is the adverb describing the adverb rudely)

Adverbs (and not adjectives) are used after an action verb


Important to pay attention to words like good and well

          -Good is an adjective that indicates “talented” or “positive”

-Rufio is a good barker

-As an adverb, well often means “talented” or “positive”

-Rufio runs well

Another note:

As an adjective, well means “healthy”

-Are you feeling well?

Adjectives and adverbs can be tricky for ELLs for many reasons.  For starters, there are irregular adjective forms that don’t follow standard rules for modifying adjectives.  Additionally, adjectives in English aren’t necessarily pluralized as they are in some other languages.  In French, for example, adjectives agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify.  Adjectives in French typically follow the noun they describe (with a few exceptions of course!), whereas Enlgish adjectives typically go before.

For example:


a green book (un livre vert)

green books (des livres verts)

Although a tad bland, teachers of ELLs can try some of these with their students:


Since adjectives often come after linking verbs like feel, smell, taste, etc. a fun lesson might include the use of these senses.  Teacher and students can both bring in various food items, fabrics and textured items and describe them

This site has some good lessons to incorporate adjectives as well


Another site for adjective and adverb hands on lessons


And for adverbs



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