Saturday, November 10, 2018

Avoid Comparing Adjectives That Are Absolute



Tips to avoid comparing adjectives that are absolute.

This post is a continuation of the tips I discussed in my last post about avoiding errors in adjective and adverb comparisons. Click here if you missed it.


Today, we are going to take a look at adjectives that are absolute in their meaning, and they cannot be compared by using the comparative or superlative degree. Absolute adjectives stand alone.


Usually, when two things are being compared we use the comparative degree. When more than two things are being compared, we use the superlative degree. Sometimes, however, the meaning of an adjective is absolute, and it cannot be compared.

Some examples of absolute adjectives include: absolute, round, straight, square, perfect, and unique.

Incorrect: My score on the exam was more perfect than anyone else’s.
Correct: My score on the exam was perfect.

Probably the most abused of these words is the adjective unique.
By definition it means there is only one of its kind, so it cannot be compared to another.

Incorrect: Your story was more unique than mine.
Correct: Your story was unique.

A less frequently used definition of the word unique is unusual. If, when you use the word unique, you mean that something is unusual, it is all right to compare it. It would be better, however, to simply use the word unusual.

For more information on the comparison of adjectives and adverbs, check back here soon. My next post will be tips to help you avoid using sweeping generalizations when making comparisons.  A sweeping generalization creates a statement that is too broad.

I hope you are having your best school year ever!

Visit my store for more helpful lessons in grammar and usage. Many of the lessons are free. 


Thanks for reading,


Photo of Charlene Tess, author of Simple Steps to Sentence Sense










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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tips on Using Comparative and Superlative Adjectives and Adverbs



Tess's Tips: The correct us of comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs


Hopefully, this tip will help you avoid errors when you are using adjectives and adverbs to compare things.


We frequently use adjectives and adverbs to compare two or more things in our writing. When two things are being compared, use the comparative degree. When more than two things are being compared, use the superlative degree.


Some words use er and est to form the comparative and superlative degree.


Some words add the words more and most.
Negative comparisons use the words less and least.

Positive Degree      Comparative Degree       Superlative Degree


cheap                          cheaper                               cheapest

recent                         more recent                         most recent

expensive                   less expensive                      least expensive


The important thing is never to use both of these comparison words at the same time. In other words, do not use: er and more together; or est and most together.


Correct:  The older of my two sons is the one you met yesterday.
Incorrect:  The more older of my two sons is the one you met yesterday.


Correct:  The healthier you are, the better you look.
Incorrect:  The more healthier you are, the better you look.


If you are not sure of the correct spelling when writing a comparison structure, use a dictionary or look up the word online.


In my next post, I will discuss adjectives that are absolute and cannot be compared. 


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If your students need more help with modifiers, you will find it here.


Thanks for reading,







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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Here's Help with 5 Confusing Words




The words who's or whose and their, there, or they’re are frequently confused and used incorrectly. 

Here are some simple tips to help you use these words correctly.

Their means it belongs to them.
Example: I listen to their music.

There indicates a location. (Replace it with the similar word “where” to help you remember its meaning.)
Example: I am going there after school.

They’re is a contraction for the words they are.
(Read a contraction as two words.)
Example: They’re (They are) my parents.

Whose means it belongs to whom. 
Example: Whose coat is this?

Who’s is a contraction for the words who is. (Read a contraction as two words.)
Example: Who’s (Who is) coming with me tonight?

After you finish writing, search for the words above to be sure you have chosen correctly. 

Ask yourself these questions:
Do you mean “where?”  If so, choose “there.”
Do you mean “it belongs to them?” If so, choose “their.”
Do you mean “they are?” If so, choose “they're.”

Do you mean “who is?” If so, choose “who’s.”
Do you mean it belongs to whom? If so, choose “whose.”

The following sentences are correct:
Whose photos are posted there on the bulletin board? Who's going to write their names on the backs of the photos? They're going to be left of of the yearbook if we don't figure this out.

Click here to buy a set 5 of the task cards your students can use to review the use of these confusing words.

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* This blog post is updated to reflect the money-saving bundle that is now available.

         All the best,







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Monday, July 30, 2018

Back to School 2018



Teachers' minds are probably whirling around right about now. Preparing for the beginning of a school year is a daunting task. It should get easier with time, but somehow it doesn't. Every year there are so many changes and so many new requirements, not to mention the exciting but challenging task of getting to know a whole new group of students. For a secondary teacher, that could mean learning well over a hundred names. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

The digital age has helped teachers in many ways, but we still have to input all the data, and let's face it, many tasks still require paper and pen. In secondary schools, the first few days are chaotic because while counselors balance the classes, teachers must enroll students in their classes one day, only to find that they drop out the next.

Often, classes are interrupted by class meetings, fire drills, preparing books lists, recording locker numbers and bus assignments, just to name a few.

I suggest setting three major goals to achieve during the first few days of school:

1) Get organized (Class rosters, seating charts, student information sheets, add and drop forms, book lists, bus routes, etc.)
2) Get to know your students.
3) Set the tone for your class.

How can you accomplish these three goals in just a few days? It's not as hard as you think. Use my activities to introduce students to you and to one another and hone their writing and oral presentation skills at the same time. 

I have a unit that might help. One of the first things I tried to do as a secondary ELA teacher, was to access the writing and speaking abilities of my new students. I developed a back-to-school unit to get the new semester or school year off to a good start. Everything you need is included in this unit. Five pages of instruction for the teacher and a four-page handout packet for the students. 

When completed, students will have introduced each other to you and to their classmates, and you will have taken three assessment grades.

This lesson is aligned with: CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.1 and CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.2   

This assignment can be easily adjusted to meet any challenges you encounter such as unexpected class meetings, fire drills, and so forth. This is a fun and interesting way to begin a new year of school. I used it every year with my students, and we all enjoyed getting to know each other.

As a bonus, students can work independently and in small groups while you attend to the paperwork that accompanies the beginning of a new semester or school year.

I hope this helps you and your students to get the 2018 school year off to a great start. If you would like to try this unit, click here.

Group of students with notebooks

You will find several FREE resources in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. Come on over and take a look!

I hope your new school year is the best one yet! 

Thanks for reading,




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