The Rabbit and the Turtle: ESL Lesson Three: Discovering Parts of Speech


Adjectives and adverbs, and shortening compound sentences with neither, either, so, and too

The first four lessons in The Rabbit and the Turtle are pre-reading, designed to get students used to working together writing, talking and thinking about language and syntax. In this third lesson, the teacher talk is about adjectives and adverbs, then specifically about how adverbs (either, neither, too, and so) can shorten compound sentences. The group work in this activity should have a scaffolding effect as students try to figure out syntax together and then work to write sentences using it.


Students will be able to recognize an adjective, and know its three forms: base, comparative and superlative. They also will understand that adverbs often have forms similar to adjectives.

During an interactive lecture, students will use either, neither, so and too. Then they will complete a fill-in-the-blank handout. And then they will work in groups writing examples of the four sentences.


Teacher talk and direction
Individuals, groups of three


Venn diagrams from Activity One
Handout Three: Parts of Speech Chart (optional)
Handout Four: Either, Neither, So and Too
Newsprint and markers.

PDF with Handouts Three and Four:


Parts of Speech & either, neither, so, too

Lesson Development:

1. Parts of Speech. Handout a Parts of Speech Chart. Let the students in groups of three go around the room looking for nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs on the Venn Diagrams and the sentences they have already written in activities from Lessons One and Two.

2. Adjectives. Once that is done, let the class focus on the adjectives and let them answer, “What is an adjective?” They need to know that adjectives help to describe or modify a noun and that they are in front of the noun: angry rabbit not rabbit angry.

Let the students get in line and each write one adjective on the board. They keep taking turns until all the adjectives are written.

Here there needs to be a little teacher talk. The teacher chooses an adjective and writes out the three forms.

fast, faster, fastest

The teacher can write:

The rabbit is fast. The rabbit is faster than the turtle. The fox is faster than the rabbit. The fox is the fastest.

Groups pick out a dozen or so favorite adjectives and write their forms, taking note that adjectives with three or more syllables use more and most. You may model: fast, faster, fastest/ confident, more confident, most confident.

Opposites. After the adjectives are listed on newsprint, let the class come up with opposites. Examples: white/black, long/short, wide/narrow. Doing opposites will expand the list.

Writing sentences with adjectives. Using the list of adjectives and nouns as a prompt, groups create sentences using comparative and superlative adjectives. Example: The man is tall. The tree is taller than the man. The building is the tallest.

Groups write their sentences on newsprint. Have a student, acting as teacher, ask the class if the sentences are correct and let the student make corrections with directions from the class.

3. Adverbs. “What is an adverb?” An adverb describes a verb the way an adjective describes a noun telling us its qualities and characteristics, modifying it. Students realize that most adjectives can become adverbs when they slightly change form. I’ll be there in a short time. I’ll be there shortly. Sometimes they don’t change. The fast rabbit ran. The rabbit ran fast. And sometimes they change entirely: She is a good singer. The singer sang well.

Students choose seven adjectives they can make into adverbs, and write fourteen sentences, one sentence using the adjective, and one sentence using the adverb. They write these on newsprint, hang them up, and the whole class, each student with a marker, goes around reading all the sentences and correcting where they think there is a mistake.

4. Either, neither, so, too and but

A. Begin your interactive lecture.

A simple sentence has a subject and a verb. If the subjects of two simple sentences agree or disagree with the same verb they can be joined together with and.

I like turtles. You like turtles. I like turtle and you like turtles.

I don’t like rabbits. She doesn’t like rabbits. I don’t like rabbits and she doesn’t like rabbits.

To keep joining like sentences with and would become repetitious. We like to shorten these sentences in English. Subjects that agree are joined with and and so or too. So comes after and and too comes at the end of the sentence.

I like turtles and so do you. Jack likes turtles and Mary does too.

Subjects that agree negatively are also joined with and and neither or either. Neither comes after and. Neither is used when the helping verb is positive: does, can, will, etc. Either comes at the end of the sentence and is used when the helping verb is negative: doesn’t, can’t, won’t, etc.

Turtles can’t fly and neither can rabbits. Turtles can’t fly and rabbits can’t either.

Ask the class where the no is in the first sentence. It’s in neither: neither do you. Ask the class where the no is in the second sentence. It’s in doesn’t: Jack doesn’t either.

Subjects that disagree are joined with but:

The turtle likes to swim.  The rabbit doesn’t like to swim.

The turtle likes to swim, but the rabbit doesn’t.

Notice in the compound sentence above that the main verb does not need to be repeated in the but clause: but the rabbit doesn’t.

B. Hand out Handout Four:

Compound Sentences

A. Fill in the blanks with neither, either, so, too, and but:

1. The turtle has a head and _____________ does the rabbit.

2.The rabbit doesn’t have money and _____________ does the turtle.

3. The turtle has a nose and the rabbit does ______________.

4. The rabbit doesn’t have a credit card and the turtle doesn’t ____________

5. The rabbit doesn’t have a shell, and _______________ the turtle does.

B. Change to compound sentences.

1. The rabbit eats carrots. The turtle eats carrots

2. Turtles have heads. Rabbits have heads.

3. The turtle doesn’t have six legs. The rabbit doesn’t have six legs.

4. Turtles don’t have wings. Rabbits don’t have wings.

5. The turtle is green. The rabbit is brown.

Individuals fill in the blanks and change the sentences. Then groups of three compare their answers and discuss any discrepancies. All groups should come to a final decision on what words belong in the blanks and how to write the sentences. Groups share their answers and the class arrives at a consensus of correct answers.

C. Groups of three create their own sentences using neither, either, too, so and but. They write them on newsprint and the class examines them making sure that all are correct and the syntax is good.

Sentences Sentences

Checkout the two previous Rabbit and Turtle Lesson Plans:



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