Part Three Editing / Grammar Skills

Unit 18 Word Forms

Learning Objectives

  1. To learn the word forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs as well as the strategies in using them correctly
  2. To identify the different positions where nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are located in sentences
  3. To learn the common suffixes of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
  4. To differentiate the uses of “-ing / -ed” ending adjectives as well as comparative/superlative nouns, adjectives, and adverbs
  5. To understand and practice the different word forms through multiple examples and a variety of writing situations


I. Pretest

Facebook and other apps on a phone screen
Facebook and other apps on a phone screen

In the following ten sentences about the social media, some words are bold-faced and may contain mistakes in word form.  If the bold-faced part in the sentence is correct, choose “correct”.  If not, choose the other answer. After you finish one sentence, you will get instant feedback on your answer before the next sentence. If you make mistakes, you can retry all the questions or see all the answers at the end of the pre-test.


II. Strategies in Using Correct Word Forms

All words in English have their parts of speech, and the most common ones are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Word forms are associated with parts of speech. For example, a “-tion” ending word is usually a noun, and an “-ly” ending word is usually an adverb.

Using the appropriate word form will ensure that the sentence is correct and that its meaning is clear. Here are some strategies:

1. Always learn vocabulary from the context.

Some words have multiple forms or parts of speech, with or without change in meaning. For example, the word “present” can be a verb and a noun with totally different meanings. Do not try to learn the word form in isolation; instead, put it in sentences so that you understand its meaning accurately.


2. Try not to translate the words into your native language.

Many words like “success, succeed, successful, successfully” may be used in similar ways in some languages but not in English. Therefore, understanding these words as they are positioned in English sentences is crucial in learning how to use them correctly.


3. Practice writing sentences with different word forms.

Consider them as word families. For example, take “success, succeed, successful, successfully” as one word family. Notice the changes in their suffixes[1]. In addition, if you try to write these sentences based on your own life stories, you may understand and remember them better.


4. As in studying any language, read as much as you can.

If possible, read out loud to listen to yourself, feel the movement of your tongue in the mouth, and hear what an English sentence sounds like. This will help improve the dexterity[2] of your tongue while articulating[3] sentences in English. It will also help you get more familiar with the sound of English.


III. Positions of Different Word Forms

The following are common places to find nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in sentences.


Nouns – names of people, places, things, and ideas


1. Before a verb (as the subject of the verb)

    • Facebook is a social media site.

2. After a verb (as the object of the verb)

    • More and more people are using Facebook to post stories and opinions.

3. After a preposition

    • On Facebook, there are many images and videos.

4. After another noun

    • People like to show their birthday on the timeline page.

5. After an adjective

    • New features such as dark mode are very popular among young people.

6. After a determiner (article, possessive noun, possessive adjective, etc.)

    • One of the features is having three-dimensional images.
    • My cousin’s posts are full of gaming videos. His videos are especially interesting.


Verbs – to show actions or states of being 

Instgram 3D icon concept
Instgram 3D icon concept

1. After the subject (as the main verb of the sentence)

    • Some people like Facebook, and some others prefer Instagram.

2. After “to” (to + base verb, called infinitive)

    • Many people use both Facebook and Instagram to post their news.

3. After some causative verbs like “make, let, get”

    • Parents do not always let their young children use the social media.


Adjectives – to describe nouns


1. Before a noun

    • Instagram is becoming a more popular site for young people.

2. After a linking verb

    • Instagram is full of images and videos.
    • This is one of the reasons Instagram has grown popular.


Adverbs – to describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or the whole sentences


1. Before or after a verb

    • News on the social media can quickly spread. It travels fast.

2. Before an adjective

    • There is both very good news and very bad news on the social media.

3. Before another adverb

    • My cousin’s videos are posted extremely frequently on Facebook.

4. Before or after a whole sentence

    • Unfortunately, not everyone in my family likes my cousin’s posts.
    • I do not always like his posts, either.


Exercise 1. Identify and highlight the part of speech required for each paragraph. Pay attention to their position in the sentence. Highlight only one word at a time. When you finish the entire exercise, you can retry or see all the answers. (To highlight, you position your computer curser on the verbs and right click.)

two words: social media
two words: social media

The first sentence is an example: Long before the social media…



IV. Word Suffixes

 Besides the location in a sentence, the suffix provides another way to show whether a word is a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Here are some common suffixes.

Common Noun Suffixes










employer, dancer, doctor, teacher

employee, interviewee[4], mentee, refugee[5]

artist, dentist, pianist, scientist

electrician, mathematician, musician, physician

accountant, assistant, consultant, immigrant


assistance, importance, difference, excellence


accuracy, consistency, democracy, efficiency


brotherhood, childhood, motherhood, parenthood


application, decision, communication, religion


achievement, argument, encouragement, government


darkness, happiness, politeness, sadness


dictatorship[6], friendship, relationship, scholarship


activity, ability, beauty, possibility


Common Verb Suffixes




activate, create, graduate, investigate


darken[7], lighten[8], strengthen, threaten


identify, notify, simplify[9], verify[10]


criticize, hospitalize, realize, socialize


Common Adjective Suffixes




acceptable, comfortable, responsible, valuable


educational, equal, legal, social


dependent, different, efficient, important


angry, elementary, primary, secondary


beautiful, careful, helpful, useful


allergic, historic, electric, magic


amazing/amazed, boring/bored, exciting/excited, interesting/interested


childish[11], foolish, greenish, selfish


active, competitive, creative, expensive


careless, helpless, selfless, useless


daily, friendly, lonely, silly


curious, dangerous, famous, religious


funny, healthy, scary, rainy


Common Adverb Suffixes




carefully, comfortably, happily, sadly


frequency adverbs: always, often, sometimes, never …

others: very, late, hard, fast, quite, well …


The above charts show only the common suffixes and words you often use. There are many exceptions in English. It is not uncommon for the same suffix to be used for different parts of speech.

For example, not all words with the “-ly” ending are adverbs, and not all adverbs end with “-ly”. The best approach is to look at the context.

  1. It is hard to catch up with all the daily posts from my friends on the social media, so I do not read everything daily. (adjective, adverb)
  2. My cousins update their information on Facebook fast; however, I am not a fast reader. (adverb, adjective)


Exercise 2. The following paragraph about the social media is taken from the pretest of this unit.  Some words are bold-faced. Choose and highlight the part of speech related to each bold-faced word.  Pay attention to its suffix and location in the sentence. When you finish the entire exercise, you can retry or see all the answers. (To highlight, you position your computer curser on the verbs and right click.)

The first sentence is an example:

On February 42004Mark Zuckerberg and his friends launched (noun, verb , adjectiveadverb) Facebook successfully.



V. Difference Between “-ed” and “-ing” Ending Adjectives

“-ed” ending adjectives describe someone’s feelings.

  1. The young players were excited during the soccer game yesterday.
  2. The parents were amused by the children’s behaviors. Some children were running in the wrong direction, and some were kicking the ball into their opponents[12]’ goal.
  3. A mother in the audience was holding a baby. The baby was frightened by the loud noise from the soccer field. He certainly had no idea what was going on.


“-ing” ending adjectives describe the person or thing that produces those feelings.

  1. The soccer game was very exciting yesterday.
  2. The children’s behaviors were amusing.
  3. The loud noise from the soccer field was frightening to the baby.
  4. All in all, the game was very interesting, and everyone was interested except the baby!


Exercise 3. One of the parents watching the above soccer game posted the following in her family Facebook chat group later that day. Select the correct word for each blank. When you finish the entire exercise, you can retry or see all the answers.

toddlers playing soccer
toddlers playing soccer

The first sentence is an example: 

 First of all, the weather was __________

 (amazing , amazed).



VI. Comparisons

Using nouns, adjectives, and adverbs in comparison is common. The following chart shows different word forms used in comparison.


a happy family in the kitchen
a happy family in the kitchen



Showing similarity

the same + noun + (as)

  • My sister and I have the same hair color.
  • My hair has the same color as my sister’s.

as + adjective/adverb + as

  • My hair is as long as my sister’s.
  • My hair grows as quickly as my sister’s.

Comparing between 2

(comparative forms)

more + plural count noun/singular noncount noun + than

fewer + plural count noun + than

less + singular noncount noun + than

  • My brother watches more soccer games than my sister.
  • My sister watches fewer soccer games than my brother.
  • My brother has more time playing sports than my sister.
  • My sister has less time playing sports than my brother.

1 – syllable adjective/adverb -er + than

  • My sister is shorter than my brother.
  • My brother runs faster than my sister.

2-syllable adjective ending in “y” -ier + than (Delete “y”.)

  • My brother is heavier than my sister.

more/less + 3-syllable adjective + than

more/less + adverb with “ly” + than

  • My brother is more athletic than my sister.
  • My sister swims more slowly than my brother.
  • My sister is less passionate about sports than my brother.

Comparing 3 or more

(Superlative forms)

the most + plural count noun/singular noncount noun

  • My sister collects the most stamps in my family.
  • My sister has the most patience of us all.

the + 1-syllable adjective/adverb -est

  • My sister is the shortest of all in my family.

the + 2-syllable adjective ending in “y” -iest (Delete “y”.)

  • My sister is the easiest to talk with in my family.

the + most/least + 3-syllable adjective

the + most/least + adverb with “ly”

  • My sister is the most interesting of all the people I know.
  • My sister enjoys movies the most enthusiastically of all the people I know.
  • My sister is the least athletic in my family.


bad – worse – worst

good / well – better – best

far – farther / further – farthest / furthest

little – less – least

many / much – more – most

  • I can speak English as well as my brother.
  • I speak English the best in my family.
  • I live farther from our childhood home than my brother.
  • Among the siblings, I live the farthest from our childhood home.
  • My sister is the least talkative in my family.


Exercise 4. The following sentences compare Android phones and iPhones . Choose the right word form for each sentence.  You will get instant feedback on your answers. You may also retry the sentence or see the answer.

a pile of cell phones
a pile of cell phones



VII. Unit Review Practice

Exercise 6. Choose and highlight the correct word form to complete each sentence about young children learning their heritage language. When you finish the entire exercise, you can retry or see all the answers.


two words: social media
“I love you” in different languages

Many young children do not receive much __________ 

(encourage, encouragementto speak their heritage 

language at home.





Exercise 7. Choose the correct word form in each group of sentences.  Drag the correct answer to the box. You will get instant feedback on your choices.  After each set of questions, you may retry or see all the answers.


Exercise 8. Find and correct eight more word form errors in the following paragraph about housing (not including the example). The first is an example.

A Condo or a House?

          At certain point in their lives, many people need to decide: to buy a condo or to buy a house? Which choice is best (better) for them? It can be hard to decide. A condo offers many convenient. It is often more cheap than a house, and it usually has an association office to help the residents with various issues. Besides, some condos have a swimming pool and a children’s playground. These facilities help families meet each other and have fun together. On the other hand, a house is definite larger and more comfortably than a condo. Each person in the family can enjoyment more privacy as well. Most houses have a backyard, too. People also have the free to keep pets in their house, but pets may not be allowed in a condo. A condo or a house? This could be a difficulty choice. It depends on what people think is most suitable for them.


Exercise 9. Follow the examples to write your own sentences with the words given.


Lying on the beach on a summer evening is relaxing.

I feel relaxed when I lie on the beach on a summer evening.


boring/bored,  disappointing/disappointed,  embarrassing/embarrassed,  confusing/confused, surprised/surprising, tiring/tired, fascinating/fascinated


Exercise 10. Choose one of the topics and write at least eight sentences of comparison. .

  1. two or more social media sites
  2. two or more phones
  3. two or more members of your family
  4. two or more vacations you have had
  5. two or more books you have read.
  6. Two or more kinds of food


 NSNT Practice

a pen writing in a notebook
a pen writing in a notebook

Go to The NSNT Free Writing Approach and Additional Weekly Prompts for Writing in Appendix A. (Open Appendix A here.) Choose two topics that you have not written about. You may start with the NSNT approach. Then revise and edit your paragraphs. Pay attention to the use of word forms. You are encouraged to share your writing with your partner and help each other improve.


Vocabulary Review

a page in a dictionary
a page in a dictionary

The words here have appeared in this unit.  The best way to learn them is to guess the meaning of each word from the context.  Then hover your computer mouse over the number beside each word to check its meaning and part of speech. These words are also listed in the footnote area at the end of each unit.

Here, you can use the flashcards below to review these words.




1. Word forms are associated with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

2. Each word form has some common suffixes.

3. Some of the strategies in using word forms correctly are:

  • Learning from the context.
  • Do not translate into native languages.
  • Practice writing sentences with different word forms.
  • Read as much as possible.

4. Nouns are names of people, places, things, and ideas. They usually appear:

  • Before or after a verb
  • After a preposition
  • Before or after another noun
  • After an adjective
  • After a determiner

5. Verbs are used to show actions or states of being. They usually appear:

  • After the subject
  • After “to”
  • After some causative verbs

6. Adjectives describe nouns. They usually appear:

  • Before a noun
  • After a link verb

7. Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or the entire sentences. They usually appear:

  • Before or after a verb
  • Before an adjective
  • Before another adverb
  • Before or after the whole sentence

8. Adjectives with an “-ed” ending usually describe a person’s feeling.

9. Adjectives with an “-ing” ending usually describe the person/thing that causes the feeling.

10. Different word forms are used in comparison.

  • To show similarity: the same … as, as…as
  • Compare between the two: -er than, more … than
  • Compare among three or more: the -est, the most …


Media Attributions

  1. suffix: noun, something such as "ly" or "er" added to the end of a word
  2. dexterity: noun, the ability to move freely and naturally
  3. articulate: verb, speak clearly
  4. interviewee: noun, the person being interviewed
  5. refugee: noun, a person who has to leave his or her country because of politics, religion, war, natural disaster, etc.
  6. dictatorship: noun, a form of government where the leader has absolute control
  7. darken: verb, make or become dark
  8. lighten: verb, make or become light
  9. simplify: verb, make something simple
  10. verify: verb, check, confirm
  11. childish: adjective, immature, thinking or acting like a child
  12. opponent: noun, a person from the opposite team


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