ESL Compound Adjective Worksheet

ESL Compound Adjective Worksheet

An ESL compound adjective worksheet is a useful tool for teachers of second language learners to introduce this important and descriptive class of words to students. Worksheets are helpful to reinforce or to review concepts covered in class in preparation for exams. Additionally, ESL compound adjective worksheets can easily be incorporated into formal quizzes where they can be used to test students' level of understanding of compound adjectives.

Challenges for ESL Students

Compound adjectives are challenging for ESL students because they tend to complicate the notion of the simple adjective. In the English language, adjectives function to modify nouns. Adjectives typically quantify, describe, or identify nouns.

Because compound adjectives involve the putting together of two or more words to create a new adjective, students need to be more semantically aware when using compound adjectives. As you will notice, the compound adjectives used in the worksheets below are all joined together with a hyphen.


Ideas for a Compound Adjective Worksheet

Idea #1

For this worksheet, have students match the compound adjectives used in the right-hand column with the ideas presented in the left-hand column to create a complete sentence. The compound adjectives listed in this exercise are commonly used in English, and the context clues from the sentence as a whole should help ESL students understand the meaning and proper usage of these descriptive tools.

Again, students will learn that compound adjectives are hyphenated when they proceed a noun, and that they perform the same function as other types of adjective which is to modify the noun that they proceed.

1. Organ donors perform a. a long-winded man

2. After a day in the sun I crave b. a six-sided die

3. The long speech was given by c. a sure-footed animal

4. Yahtzee is a game played with d. a tight-fisted woman

5. The mountain goat is e. an ice-cold lemonade

6. Don't go the wrong way down f. a five-page book report

7. The manager of the bank is g. a ten-dollar bill

8. My homework for tomorrow is h. a life-giving service

9. My friend Scott lent me i. a three-hour movie

10. The theatre is showing j. a one-way street


Idea #2

This worksheet invites the students to match the words in the right-hand column with the words in the left-hand column to create a compound adjective. In some cases, more than one answer may be appropriate, but encourage students to try to select the best answer from the right-hand column.

This exercise will build student's skills in recognizing compound adjectives and will encourage them to listen and read more carefully in the future to better identify this class of words.

1. self- a. aged

2. right- b. hearted

3. world- c. witted

4. middle- d. heeled

5. good- e. winded

6. black-and- f. eyed

7. twenty- g. handed

8. dim- h. common

9. open- i. footed

10. well- j. lined

11. cold- k. minute

12. part- l. shouldered

13. sure- m. blooded

14. bow- n. behaved

15. high- o. deaf

16. broad- p. legged

17. long- q. fisted

18. all-too- r. centered

19. brown- s. old

20. tone- t. minded

21. fur- u. natured

22. red- v. time

23. tight- w. mouthed

24. fifteen-year- x. famous

25. loud- y. end

26. dead- z. blue


Final Considerations

These ESL compound adjective worksheets provide students with opportunities to become increasingly familiar with compound adjectives. Students are encouraged to create compound adjectives from a number of possible word choices which helps develop their abilities to recognize the most commonly used examples of this class of words. In addition, students use compound adjectives to complete the main ideas expressed in sentences.

Both exercises work to aid students in developing proficiency in their use of the English language. As always, encourage students to read for pleasure in English as much as possible and to speak to native speakers in their personal lives whenever they have the opportunity.