Books With Adjectives in the Title

This upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topic was too cute to leave for next month. So I chose to fast-forward to it right away, just so I could post this. Check out today’s topic and other posts over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

You know how books follow similar title patterns? The Adjective Noun like The Silent Patient, or The Noun of the Noun like The Call of the Wild. Here’s a quick and fun grammar practice lesson that you can conduct in your classroom or school library, or even virtually. All you need is a bunch of books!

Place buckets or racks across the room, or virtually, folders or other organisers, labelled after each of the title categories. Ask your students to find and place the books in the suitable buckets. Students can also come up with their own categories.

You can later discuss why certain formulaic titles work for books, movies, and stories. Students can share examples of titles which are truly original, and do not fit any formula. Do they like or prefer such titles?

  • The [Adjective] [Noun] of [Noun] books

1. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R.L. Stevenson

3. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend

4. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin

  • The [Noun] of the [Adjective] [Noun] books

1. Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

2. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

3. The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage [and others] by Enid Blyton

4. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

5. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott

Which other common adjective-based patterns can you find in book titles? Try out this game in your next ESL class and share what your students come up with!

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