Word Form Grammar Tutorial Worksheet

Word Form Grammar Tutorial Worksheet

For the Tutor

Some words have more than one form for the same part of speech. Such subtle distinctions can be troubling for your L2 writers. For example, bored and boring are both adjectives, but their meaning is different. “The student is bored” indicates that something outside the student is causing the boredom (such as a classroom lecture). “The student is boring” indicates that the student herself is causing the boredom (possibly by talking for too long). In general, the past participle form is used to indicate an outside cause, and the present participle is used to indicate an internal cause.

Other differences in word form are nonrule based and must be acquired by paying attention when listening or reading. For example, discriminating may be considered positive, as in the ability to make wise choices, whereas discriminatory is certainly negative, indicating prejudice.

For the ESL Writer

Be aware that although words may share the same root and even the same part of speech, word meaning changes when form changes. Use an ESL dictionary (such as Longman Advanced Dictionary) to determine the differences in meaning in these words. Study the following:


interesting (adjective) ____________                       interested (adjective) ____________

confusing (adjective) ____________                         confused (adjective) ____________

friend (noun) ____________                                      friendship (noun) ____________

automotive (adjective) ____________                      automatic (adjective) ____________

systemic (adjective) ____________                           systematic (adjective) ____________

Correct the following:


  • Mel feels boring when she listens to long lectures.
  • Ben is concerning about global warming.
  • The senators attacked each others’ characteristic during their political campaigns.
  • Yesterday I was hot; today it is cold. The weather has been various.
  • This class is comparative to the class you are taking at City College.


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