Teaching Irregular Adverbs

When teaching beginners you should always work on the principle that any detailed grammar explanation will be too complicated for them. In TEFL it is always wise to keep things as simple as possible.

This means that when you need to explain a new grammar item like irregular adverbs, for example, start from what your students already know.

Start by putting on the whiteboard‏‎ a couple of examples of regular adverbs‏‎ as well as their corresponding adjective:

slow > slowly

quick > quickly

Then using flashcards‏‎ or models, encourage this kind of dialog:

  • Teacher: Is this a slow car?
  • Student: Yes, it’s a slow car.


  • Teacher: Is this a quick airplane?
  • Student: No, it’s a slow airplane.


  • Teacher: Is this a slow animal?
  • Student: No, it’s a quick animal, that’s a slow animal.


  • Teacher: Is that man going slowly?
  • Student: No, he’s going quickly.

And so on. Quite simply here you are reinforcing what the students already know.

The next step is to add a single irregularly formed adverb.

slow > slowly

quick > quickly

fast > fast

In other words, build on what the students already know and make a few sentences as examples, always going from what is known to what is new:

This is a quick car. It goes quickly.

This is a fast car. It goes fast.

Using a model car show that quick and fast mean the same.

quick car = fast car

goes quickly = goes fast

So, showing more pictures and working with the class:

  • Teacher: Is he a fast runner?
  • Student: Yes, he’s a fast runner.


  • Teacher: Is this a fast boat?
    Student: No, it’s a slow boat.


  • Teacher: Is this boat going slowly?
    Student: No it’s going fast.



What we are saying here can be applied to teaching any language item. Start with something known and go over it with the class. Then slowly introduce a new idea and make sure there’s plenty of practice on it with the class.

In other words, keep everything simple!

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Posted in Lesson Plans & Activities.

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