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Download Complete Notes Grade 8 Notes CBC Junior Secondary 2024


A noun is the part of speech that names a person, a place, a thing or an idea. You use nouns every day when you speak or write. Every day you probably use thousands of nouns. Because nouns name the objects and people and places around you, it would be very difficult to talk about anything at all without them.

Many nouns name things you can see:

Persons                        Places                            Things

boy                               lake                                 boot

student                         country                          shadow

John Kamau                 Nairobi                           chair

stranger                        Jupiter                            sweater

writer                            Kenyatta Market           calendar

Barack Obama             Sierra Leone                  short story

      Some nouns name things you cannot see such as feelings, ideas and characteristics:

Feelings                       Ideas                              Characteristics

excitement                   freedom                          curiosity

fear                               justice                             cowardice

anger                             fantasy                           courage

happiness                     faith                                imagination

surprise                        evil                                 self-confidence

Exercise 1

What words in each sentence below are nouns?

Example: John is a dancer – John, dancer

  1. The students planned a party.
  2. Three boys performed songs.
  3. Excitement filled the air.
  4. Joyce Chepkemoi won a prize.
  5. Otieno lives in a house on my street.

Exercise 2

Copy the nouns below and write whether it names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea.

Example: river – place

  1. Candle                                         5. Guitar
  2. Wrestle                                        6. China
  3. Joy                                               7. Hatred
  4. Menengai Crater                         8. Masanduku Arap Simiti

Exercise 3

Write down each noun in the following sentences.

Example:  Kenya is a beautiful country – Kenya, country

  1. The musicians played drums and trumpets.
  2. Her family lives in a village.
  3. Petronilla enjoyed the trip.
  4. A festival was held in Kenyatta University.
  5. People in costumes filled the streets.
  6. Boys in Scouts uniforms were leading the parade.
  7. The holiday was a great excitement.
  8. A taxi brought the family to the airport.
  9. Maryanne built a huge castle in the wet sand.

10. Her mother swam in the warm water.

There are different kinds of nouns:

 Common and proper nouns

All nouns can be described as either common or proper. When you talk or write about a person, a place, a thing, or an idea in general, you use a common noun.

Example: Doctors work hard. They treat many patients.

A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, thing, or idea. Proper nounsalways begin with capital letters.

Example: Ephraim Maree is a doctor. He comes from Kirinyaga.

Note: When a proper noun is made up of more than one word, only the important words in the noun will begin with a capital letter. Do not capitalize words such as the, of, or for.

Example: Gulf of Mexico, Statue of Liberty, the Commander–in–Chief.

Common and Proper Nouns

Common            Proper                   Common            Proper

street                 Kerugoya                city                    Raila Odinga

author               South Africa            ocean               Wanjohi

policeman         Asia                        bed                    Moi Avenue

country              Indian Ocean        wardrobe          Lake Victoria

mountain           England                 continent          Dr. Frank Njenga

lake                     Mandela              assistant            Professor Saitoti

Proper nouns are important to good writing. They make your writing more specific, and therefore clearer.

Exercise 4

 Which words are proper nouns and should be capitalised? Which words are common nouns?

Example: kenya       Proper:  Kenya

  1. july                               6. student                         11. america
  2. book                             7. kendu bay                    12. business
  3. face                               8. john hopkins               13. day
  4. england                        9. life                                14. east africa
  5. crocodiles                    10. johannesburg            15. calendar

Exercise 5

 List the common nouns and the proper nouns in each of the following sentences.

Example: Nancy welcomed the guests.

             Proper: Nancy                   Common: guests

  1. Lucky Dube was a famous singer.
  2. This dancer has performed in London and Paris.
  3. His last flight was over the Mediterranean Sea.
  4. She worked as a nurse during the Second World War.
  5. Her goal was to educate students all over the world.
  6. It was the worst accident in the history of Europe.
  7. Bill Gates is best known for founding Microsoft.
  8. The Pilot was the first woman to cross that ocean alone.
  9. She grabbed a kettle and brought them water.
  10. Professor Wangari Maathai won a Nobel Peace Prize.

 Singular and Plural Nouns

A noun may be either singular or plural. A singular noun names one person, place, thing, or idea.

Example: The farmer drove to the market in his truck.

A plural noun names more than one person, place, thing or idea.

Example: The farmers drove to the markets in their trucks.

Rules for forming plurals

     The following are guidelines for forming plurals:

  1. To form the plural of most singular nouns, add -s.

Examples: Street–streets, house–houses, painter–painters, shelter–shelters, event-events, hospital–hospitals.

  • When a singular noun ends in s, sh, ch, x, or z, add -es.

Examples: dress-dresses, brush-brushes, axe-axes, coach-coaches, box–boxes, bench-benches, dish-dishes, waltz–waltzes.

  • When a singular noun ends in o, add -s to make it plural.

Examples: Piano-pianos, solo-solos, cameo–cameos, concerto–concertos, patio-patios, studio-studios, radio-radios, rodeo–rodeos.

  • For some nouns ending with a consonant and o, add -es.

Examples: hero-heroes, potato-potatoes, echo-echoes, veto-vetoes, tomato-tomatoes.

  • When a singular noun ends with a consonant and y, change the y to i and add -es.

Examples: Library – libraries, activity – activities, story – stories, city – cities, berry – berries.

  • When a singular noun ends with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) followed by y, just add  -s.

Examples: Valley – valleys, essay – essays, alley – alleys, survey – surveys, joy – joys.

  • To form the plural of many nouns ending in f or fe, change the f to v and add -es or s.

Examples: Wife – wives, thief – thieves, loaf – loaves, half – halves, shelf – shelves, leaf – leaves, scarf – scarves, life – lives, calf – calves, elf – elves.

  • For some nouns ending in f, add –s to form the plural.

Examples:  proof – proofs, belief – beliefs, motif – motifs, cliff – cliffs.

  • Some nouns remain the same in the singular and the plural.

Examples: deer – deer, sheep – sheep, series – series, species – species, moose – moose, trout – trout.

10. The plurals of some nouns are formed in special ways.

Examples: foot – feet, child – children, mouse – mice, man – men, woman – women, ox-oxen, tooth – teeth.

     NB: If you don’t figure out the correct spelling of a plural noun, look it up in a dictionary.

Exercise 6

What is the plural form of each of the following nouns? Example: scarfscarves

  1. tooth                      9. cuff                     17. moose     25. boss
  2. wife                       10. deer                   18. child        26. fox
  3. giraffe                    11. cliff                   19. echo        27. bunch
  4. hero                       12. auto                  20. baby        28. ferry
  5. radio                      13. studio               21. sky          29. flash
  6. potato                    14. man                   22. beach       30. ship
  7. belief                     15. roof                   23. eye
  8. thief                       16. rodeo                24. Volcano

Exercise 7

 Write the plural form of each noun in brackets to complete each sentence correctly.

Example: I bought two ________________ from the shop. (loaf) loaves

1. I used two different _______________ to cut the rope. (knife)

2. She peeled the _______________ with a knife. (potato)

3. They are feeding the noisy _____________. (goose)

4. The tools are placed on the _____________. (shelf)

5. Mukami cut a few _______________ for the salad. (tomato)

6. The ______________ are playing in the field. (child)

7. Some ______________ are hiding in the ceiling. (mouse)

8. The ______________ of the buildings must be repaired. (roof)

9. The music helped them imagine the strange _________. (story)

10. Koech used creative ______________ to help young people sharpen their imagination. (activity)

Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable Nouns

These are nouns that take plurals and can be counted.


Egg – eggs                    One egg, three eggs, ten eggs

Potato   – Potatoes     Twenty potatoes

Onion – Onions           Two hundred onions

Such nouns are known as COUNTABLE   or COUNT NOUNS

Uncountable Nouns

These are nouns that do not take plurals and cannot be counted. 

Examples: salt, butter, cooking fat, milk, bread, jam

We do not say:

Two butters*

Ten milks*

Three breads*

Such nouns are known as UNCOUNTABLE or MASS NOUNS

Exercise 8

Rewrite the words below in two columns, COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

          orange                              coffee

          furniture                                tea

          water                                      gold

          chair                                       team

          friend                                     music

Plurals with uncountable Nouns

One way to express plurals of uncountable nouns is by use of expressions of quantity.


 a piece of information  –         pieces of information

a loaf of bread                –         four loaves of bread

a tin of soup                    –         three tins of soup

a piece of furniture        –         several pieces of furniture

a litre of milk                   –         twenty litres of milk

a bottle of beer               –         ten bottles of beer

Exercise 9

Supply an appropriate expression of quantity for the following uncountable nouns

  1. a……………………………………of cigarettes.
  2. two……………………………… of cooking oil
  3. three……………………………..of jam.
  4. ten………………………………..of butter.
  5. six………………………………….of soda.
  6. a………………………………….. of toothpaste
  7. three………………………………of rice.
  8. five ……………………………….. of flour.
  9. two ……………………………….. of chocolate.

10. four…………………….. of news.

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that represent a group of people or things as a single unit.

Some collective nouns can take plural forms


crowd (s)                                         flock (s)

group (s)                                          herd (s)

team (s)                                           committee (s)

pair (s)

 Some collective nouns, however, cannot be used in the plural:


furnitures*                                                           beddings*

equipments*                                                        informations*

luggages*                                                             baggages*

Exercise 10

When I arrived at the airport, there were………1……… (crowd) of people blocking the entrance with their ……………..2………………( luggage ). Near the customs sections, several……………3…………….. (group) of officials  were standing, checking the ………………4……………… (equipment) that was being loaded onto a trolley.  Most people were standing, waiting for… ………….5…………….. (information) from the loudspeakers on the departures and arrivals of aircraft.


A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words.  The words that form compound nouns may be joined together, separated or hyphenated.


Joined: bookcase, blackboard, pushcart

Separated: high school, rabbit hutch, radar gun

Hyphenated: go-getter, mother-in-law, sergeant-at-arms

Compound nouns are usually a combination of two or more word classes.  The most common combinations are as follows:

a. Some are formed by joining a noun with another noun.  Most of these compound nouns take their plurals in the last words.


tableroom(s)            grass root(s)                      prize-fighter(s)

cupboard(s)              policeman/men                rubber-stamp(s)

bookcase(s)               farmhouse(s)                   sanitary towel(s)

cowshed(s)               fruit machine(s)               shoulder blade(s)

b. Some are formed by joining a verb and an adverb.  Most of these compound nouns also take their plurals in the last words.


breakfast(s)             push-up(s)                           rundown(s)

takeaway(s)             knockout(s)                        slip-up(s)

sit-up(s)                    meltdown(s)

c. Some compound nouns are formed by joining an adjective and a noun.  Most of these also take their plurals in the last words.


hotdog(s)                   polar bear(s)                     safe guard(s)

blackboard(s)            quicksand   

highway(s)                remote control(s)

nuclear power           right angle(s)

d. Some are formed by joining a verb and a noun.  Most of these also take their plurals in the last words.


driveway(s)              playground(s)             spend thrift(s)

breakdance(s)         pushchair(s)                          go-getter(s)

mincemeat               screwdriver(s)

password(s)             spare wheel(s)

e. Some ore formed by joining an adverb and a noun.  Most of these also take their plural in the last words.


overdraft(s)              overcoats(s)                         backyards(s)

backbencher(s)        undercoat(s)                         backbone(s)

backlog(s)                 underwear(s)                      oversight(s)

f. A few compound nouns are formed by joining an adverb and a verb.  These ones also take their plurals in the last words.


outbreak(s)                backlash(es)                        output(s)

outburst(s)                outcast(s)                             input(s)

g. A few others are formed by joining a noun and a verb.  They also take their plurals in the last words.


nosedive(s)            nightfall(s)

h. A number of compound nouns are formed by joining two nouns by use of hyphens and a short preposition in between.  These compound nouns always take their plurals in the first words.


commander(s)-in-chief      sergeant(s)-at-arms

mother(s)-in-law                  sister(s)-in-law


Exercise 11

Underline the compound nouns in the following sentences and write down their plural forms where possible.

  1. John wants to be a quantity surveyor when he grows up.
  2. Rainwater had washed away all the top soil.
  3. The footballer was shown a red card by the referee.
  4. Neither candidate won the elections, forcing a runoff.
  5. The goalkeeper saved a penalty in the second half.
  6. He killed the wild pig with a sledge hammer.
  7. Njoroge’s tape-recorder was stolen yesterday.
  8. The theatregoer was disappointed with the show.
  9. Size 8’s latest song has caused an uproar.

10. He attempted a creative writing workshop.

Possessive Nouns

A possessive noun shows who or what owns something. A possessive noun can either be singular or plural.

Singular possessive nouns

A singular possessive noun shows that one person, place, or thing has or owns something. To make a singular noun show possession, add an apostrophe and s (‘s).


 the feathers of the chick – the chick’s feathers

 the hat that belongs to the man – the man’s hat

Other examples:

the child’s toy                  the fish’s fins

Mark’s bike                       the horse’s tail

Using possessive nouns is shorter and better than other ways of showing possession.


LONGER: The dog belonging to Papa is barking.

BETTER: Papa’s dog is barking.

Plural Possessive Nouns

A plural possessive noun shows possession or ownership of a plural noun.


The cars that belong to the teachers are parked here.

The teachers’ cars are parked here.

When a plural noun ends in s, add only an apostrophe after the s to make the noun show possession.

Not all plural nouns end in s. When a plural noun does not end in s, add ‘s to form the plural possession.


the shoes of the men – the men’s shoes

the food of the children – the children’s food

The noun following a possessive noun may either be the name of a thing or a quality.


Thing    –     Koki’s raincoat          Brian’s umbrella

Quality –     the judge’s fury        Bob’s courage

 Exercise 8

Change the following phrases to show possession in a shorter way.

Example: the claws of the leopard

             the leopard’s claws.

  1. the tail of the lion
  2. the dog that Cliff has
  3. the hat of my mother
  4. the book that Evans owns
  5. the pot that the child has
  6. the name of the doll
  7. the mobile phone that Lucy owns
  8. the shoes that Kimani has
  9. the teeth that the fox has
  10. the rabbit that my friend owns

Summary of rules of forming Possessive Nouns

  1. For singular a noun, add an apostrophe and s.

Example: Mr. Mukui’s car is a Toyota Corolla.

  • For plural noun ending in s, add an apostrophe only.

Example: The victims’ property was stolen

  • For a plural noun that does not end in s, add an apostrophe and s.

Example: The women’s boots were muddy.

Singular Noun    Singular possessive      Plural Noun       Plural possessive

boy                      boy’s                         boys                      boys’

child                    child’s                        children                children’s

mouse                 mouse’s                      mice                      mice’s

deer                     deer’s                          deer                       deer’s

Exercise 9

Write the following phrases to show possession.

Example: teachers – pens    = teachers’ pens

  1. cooks – aprons                6. women – sports
  2. men – boots                     7. carpenters – nails
  3. countries – flags              8. sailors – uniforms
  4. guests – coats                  9. musicians – instruments
  5. athletes – medal           10. neighbours – pets

Grade 8 Notes CBC Junior Secondary 2024

Exercise 10

Rewrite the following sentences changing the BOLD words to plural possessive nouns.

Example: The players on the teams practised after school.

             The teams’ players practised after school.

1. Each day the wealth of the couple increased.

2. There was a team of men and a team of women.

3. The uniforms that the teams wore were new.

4. Numbers were printed on the shirts of the athletes

5. Scores made by the team-mates were put on the scoreboard.

6. The players enjoyed the cheers of their friends.

     7. The whistles of the coaches stopped the game.

8. The eyes of the children were full of tears of joy.

     9. The soothing voices of their mothers calmed them.

10. However, the houses belonging to their neighbours were destroyed.


A pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of a noun. They include such words as I, we, he, she, they, me and us.

Pronouns enable you to avoid repeating the same names (nouns), when writing or speaking, which would otherwise make you sound very awkward and wordy. By using pronouns effectively, you can make your writing and speaking flow smoothly.

      Pronouns can be classified into 6 types. These are personal, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive and intensive pronouns.

Personal pronouns

A personal pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or another pronoun. They are used to refer to nouns that name persons or things.


Awkward:   Kamau put on Kamau’s gum boots. Then Kamau went to the shamba.

Improved:   Kamau put on hisgum boots. Then hewent to the shamba.

In the above example, the personal pronoun hishelps the writer avoid repeating the same noun. The pronoun heacts as a bridge to connect the two sentences.

Personal pronouns are further classified in terms of person and gender.


In terms of person, personal pronouns can be divided into three classes.

  • First person – I, my, me, we, our and us.

These ones refer to the person(s) speaking.

Example: I always ride my bike to school.

  • Second person – you, your, yours

These refer to the person(s) spoken to.

Example:  I will call you tomorrow.

    (iii) Third person – he, his, him, she, hers, her, it, its, they, their, them.

These ones refer to another person(s) or thing(s) that is being spoken of.

The personal pronoun it usually replaces a noun that stands for a thing or an animal. Itis never used in place of a person.


Personal pronouns can also be classified by gender. Gender can either be masculine (referring to male people), feminine (referring to female people) or neuter (referring to animals or things).


Joseph cleaned his car. (his is the third person, masculine gender).

Isabel said the dress was hers (hers is the third person, feminine gender).

The dog wagged its tail. (its is the third person, neuter gender).


In English, personal pronouns have three forms: the subject form, the object form and the possessive form.


She is a painter. (subject form)

He praised her. (Object form)

It is her best painting. (Possessive form)

Subject Pronouns

A subject pronoun takes the place of a noun as the subject of a sentence. These pronouns are:

  • Singular forms – I, you, he, she, it
  • Plural forms – we, you, they


Noun                                                        Subject Pronoun

The housegirl takes care of her.     She takes care of her.

The dog guards the house.                     It guards the house.

Mark and Francis love swimming. They love swimming.

Subject pronouns also appear after forms of the linking verbs be.


The watchman today is he.

The composers were they.

Exercise 1

Underline the subject pronouns in the following sentences.

Example: She ate a water melon

  1. They ate fish and chips.
  2. We like Italian food.
  3. It is delicious.
  4. The biggest eater was he.
  5. You helped in the cooking.
  6. The cooks were Tom and I.

Exercise 2

Replace the underlined words with subject pronouns.

Example: Pio and Gama are friends – They

1. The glasses were under the table.

2. Emma fed the chicken.

3. The pears were juicy.

4. Uncle Ben and Lillian visited the orphans.

5. The new waitress is Jane.

6. The fastest runners were Tecla and Kirui.

7. Lisa went to the hall.

8. The chicken was slaughtered.

9. Lucky Dube and Brenda Fasie were South African Singers.

10. Samuel Wanjiru has won many athletics medals.

Object pronouns

       Object pronouns can replace nouns used after action verbs. These pronouns are:

  • Singular – me, you, him, her, it
  •  Plural – us, you, them


The driver drove him. (Direct object)

The parents thanked us. (Direct object)

The reporters asked him many questions. (Indirect object)

In the above examples, the personal pronouns are the direct or indirect objects of the verbs before them.

Object pronouns can also replace nouns after prepositions such as to, for, with, in, at or by. That is, they can be objects of prepositions.


Gladys waved to them. (Object of a preposition)

The delivery is for me.

Ben went with them to the theatre.

Exercise 3

Choose the correct pronoun in the brackets in the following sentences.

Example: Irungu photographed (us, we). = us

  1. Lisa asked (he, him) for a picture.
  2. Adam sketched Lisa and (I, me).
  3. He gave a photo to (us, we).
  4. Ann and (she, her) saw Dave and Bob.
  5. Adam drew Lisa and (they, them).
  6. Mark helped (I, me) with the packing.
  7. Loise praised (him, he) for his good work.
  8. Everyone spotted (they, them) easily.
  9. That night Mike played the guitar for (us, we).

10. (We, Us) drove with (they, them) to the mountains.

Possessive pronouns

A possessive pronoun shows ownership.

Example: My pen is black.

There are two kinds of possessive pronouns:

i. Those used as adjectives to modify nouns. These possessive pronouns are:

Singular: My, your, his, her, its

Plural: Our, your, their


My shirt is yellow.             Your food is on the table.

His bag is green.                 This is her dress.

Its fur is soft.                       These are our parents.

Pay your bills.                     They removed their bats.

    The above possessive pronouns always appear before nouns to modify them. Hence, they are called modifiers.

ii. Those that stand alone and replace nouns in sentences. These possessive nouns are:

Singular: mine, yours, his, hers, its

Plural: ours, yours, their


The yellow shirt is mine.     The food on the table is yours.

The green bag is his.            This dress is hers.

Its is the soft fur.                  These crops are ours.

These bills are yours.           Those hats are theirs.

Exercise 4

Complete the following sentences by choosing the correct possessive pronoun from the brackets.

Example: The lazy girl completed (her, hers) home work. = her.

  1. (My, mine) journey to Mombasa was enjoyable.
  2. Florence said (her, hers) was the best.
  3. Are the pictures of Fort Jesus (your, yours)?
  4. (Her, Hers) were taken at Jomo Kenyatta Beach.
  5. Tomorrow we will make frames for (our, ours) pictures.
  6. (My, mine) class is planning a trip to Mt. Kenya.
  7. (Our, ours) trip will be taken on video.
  8. Micere is excited that the idea was (her, hers).
  9. Koki and Toti cannot hide (their, theirs) excitement.

10. (My, mine) dream is to climb to the highest peak of the mountain.


1. The pronoun I is used as a subject or after forms of the linking verb be.


Subject: I travel by bus.

After the linking verb be: Yesterday, the prefects on duty were Victor and I.

2. The pronoun me is used as an object after action verbs or words (prepositions) such as to, for, with, in, or at.


Object: Rose met me at the gate.

After prepositions: Rose waited for me at the gate.

                         You are coming with me.

3. When using compound subjects and objects (i.e. subjects and objects comprising of a pronoun and a noun or another pronoun), always name yourself last.


Diana and I visited our grandmother yesterday.

Who appointed Chege and me?

Rose waited for her and me at the gate.


A contraction is a shortened form of two words. One or more letters are omitted and an apostrophe (’) is used in place of the letters left out.

A contraction is formed by combining pronouns and the verbs am, is, are, will, would, have, has, and had.

Pronoun + verb Contraction Pronoun + verb           Contraction

I am                           I’m                          I have                I’ve

He is                         he’s                         he has                he’s

It is                            it’s                           it has                 it’s

You are                    you’re                     you have           you’ve

They are                   they’re                    they have          they’ve

I will                         I’ll                           I had                  I’d

You will                   you’ll                      you had             you’d

We would                we’d                        we had              we’d


1.Some contractions look the same but are formed from different words.


he is, he has = he’s

we had, we would = we’d

2.Some possessive pronouns sound like contractions. Because the words sound alike, they are sometimes confused.


Possessive pronouns                       Contractions 

         its                                               it’s

your                                           you’re

their                                           they’re

whose                                        who’s

Incorrect: The team celebrated it’s victory.

Correct: The team celebrated its victory.

Incorrect: Your late for the preps.

Correct: You’re late for the preps.

Incorrect: Whose the fastest runner in the world?

Correct: Who’s the fastest runner in the world?

Rules of using possessive pronouns and contractions correctly:

  1. If the word you want to use stands for two words, it is a contraction and needs an apostrophe.
  2. Never use an apostrophe in a possessive pronoun.

Exercise 5

Write the contractions for the following word pairs. Example: It has = it’s

1. You will                        3. He had                     5. You have

     2. We would                     4. I am                          6. They will

Exercise 6

What pronoun and verb make up each of the following contractions?

Example: It’s = it is, it has

     1. I’ll                                  3. you’d                        5. they’re

     2. we’re                             4. he’s                           6. she’d

Exercise 7

Choose the correct word given in brackets in the following sentences.

  1. The Kenyan government has worked hard to improve (its, it’s) educational system.
  2. (Whose, Who’s) going to decide where the guests will sleep?
  3. (Their, They’re) learning French in their school.
  4. Only students (whose, who’s) scores are excellent will join national schools.
  5. (Its, It’s) been estimated that about 8 million Kenyans are living with HIV AIDS.


An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that does not refer to a specific person or thing.

In English, there are singular indefinite pronouns, plural indefinite and both singular and plural indefinite pronouns.

Singular Indefinite Pronouns

another                anything      everybody    neither          one

anybody             each             everyone       nobody         somebody

anymore              either           everything    no one          someone.

An indefinite pronoun must agree with its verbs and in number with its possessive pronoun. The above indefinite pronouns are used with singular verbs. They are also used with singular possessive pronouns.


Agreement with verbs

Correct: Everyone has heard of Lake Turkana.

Incorrect: Everyone have heard of Lake Turkana.

Correct: Nobody knows what happened to Samuel Wanjiru.

Incorrect: Nobody know what happened to Samuel Wanjiru.

Correct: Everything about the old man remains a mystery.

Incorrect: Everything about the old man remain a mystery.

Agreement in number with possessive pronouns

Correct: Neither believed his/her eyes.

Incorrect: Neither believed their eyes.

Correct: Each strained his/her neck to see.

Incorrect: Each strained their neck to see.

Plural indefinite pronouns

both                  many                 few                several

These indefinite pronouns use plural verbs and possessive pronouns.


Plural verbs

Correct: Few know about Lake Olbolosat.

Incorrect: Few knows about Lake Obolosat.

Correct: Both stand by what they believe.

Incorrect: Both stands by what they believe.

 Plural possessive pronouns

Correct: Several reported their findings.

Incorrect: Several reported his/her findings.

Both singular and plural indefinite pronouns

all                some                any                    none

These indefinite pronouns may be singular or plural, depending on their meaning in the sentence.


All of my story is true. – singular

All of the guests are here. – plural

None of the lake is foggy. – singular

None of the photos are spoiled. – plural.


Underline the indefinite pronouns in the following sentences and then write the correct form of the verb or possessive pronoun in the brackets.

  1. All the photographs of the killer (is, are) unclear.
  2. (Has, Have) anybody seen my camera?
  3. Many (believes, believe) a monster lives in the lake.
  4. Each of the photographs (make, makes) people want more.
  5. All of the evidence (indicates, indicate) that he was killed by his wife.
  6. Everyone has taken (his, their) payment.
  7. Several eyewitnesses volunteered to give (his, their) accounts.
  8. Anyone can lose (her, their) eyesight.
  9. Another reported (his, their) case to the police.

10. Somebody left (her, their) handbag in the lecture hall.


A demonstrative pronoun is used to single or point out one or more persons or things referred to in the sentence. These pronouns are this, that, these, and those.

This and these point to persons or things that are near.


This is a gazelle.

These are the students of Kianjege West Secondary School.

That and those point to persons or things that are farther away.


That is the city square.

Those are the lodging rooms.

This and that are used with singular nouns. These and those are used with plural nouns.

Exercise 9

Pick the correct demonstrate pronouns from the choices given in the brackets in the following sentences.

  1. (This, That) is the canteen we are entering now.
  2. (This, That) is the dispensary across the street
  3. (These, Those) are beautiful flowers on the counter over there.
  4. Are (those, these) chocolate bars on the far counter?
  5. I think (these, those) are called Vuvuzelas.


An interrogative pronoun is used to ask a question. These pronouns are who, whose, whom, which and what.


Who is the mayor of this town?

Whose is the red car?

Which is her blouse?

What did she ask you?

Whom should I trust with my secret?


Who, whom, and whose are often used to ask questions. Hence, they are interrogative pronouns.

WHO is the subject form. It is used as the subject of a verb.


Who taught you how to play the guitar? (Who is the subject of the verb taught.)

WHOM is the object form. It is used as the direct object of a verb or as the object of a preposition.


Whom did you meet? (Whom is the object of the verb did meet).

For whom is this trophy? (whom is the object of the preposition for).

WHOSE is the possessive form. It can be used :

  • To modify a noun


Whose umbrella is this? (whose modifies the noun umbrella)

  •  Alone as the subject or object of a verb


Whose are those water melons? (whose is the subject of the verb are)

Whose did you admire? (whose is the object of the verb did admire)

Exercise 10

Pick the correct interrogative pronouns from the brackets in the following sentences.

  1. (Who, Whom) owns that shop?
  2. (Who, Whom) can we ask the way?
  3. (Which, What) did they ask you?
  4. (Which, What) are the objects on the table called?
  5. To (who, whom) does the boutique belong?

Exercise 11

Complete the following sentences with who, whom, or whose.

  1. ________________ knows the origin of the Luos?
  2. ________________ did you ask about it?
  3. To _______________ did you give the letter?
  4. _________________ is the most attractive painting?
  5. _________________ is likely to receive the Chaguo la Teeniez award?
  6. For ______________ did you buy this doll?
  7. _________________ skill in dancing is the best?
  8. _________________ is the officer-in-charge here?
  9. _________________ are you looking at?

10._________________ are those healthy Merino sheep?


Reflexive and intensive pronouns end in -self or –selves. These are myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, and themselves. There is, however, one difference between reflexive and Intensive pronouns.

A reflexive pronoun refers to an action performed by the subject of the sentence. The meaning of the sentence is incomplete without the reflexive pronoun.


Monicah bought herself a new dress.

(The meaning of the sentence is incomplete without the reflexive pronoun because we do not know for whom Monicah bought the dress).

An Intensive pronoun is used to emphasise a noun or a pronoun. It does not add information to a sentence, and it can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence.

I myself pulled the boy out of the river.

(If you remove myself, the meaning of the sentence does not change)

Exercise 12

Identify the Reflexive and Intensive pronouns in the following sentences, labelling them accordingly.

  1. I myself have never tried mountain climbing.
  2. He himself was taking the cows to graze in the forest.
  3. My sister Annastasia mends her clothes herself.
  4. She often challenges herself by doing strenuous activities.
  5. You may ask yourself about the sanity of beer drinking competition.


     1. Double subjects

We all know that every sentence must have a subject. Sometimes we incorrectly use a double subject – a noun and a pronoun – to name the same person, place, or thing.

     Incorrect                                Correct

Jane she is my cousin.                Jane is my cousin.

                                                  She is my cousin.

Her scarf it is pretty.                  Her scarf is pretty.       

                                                  It is pretty.

Jane and she should not be used as subjects together.

The subject her scarf should not be used together with it.

Use only a noun or a pronoun to name a subject.

     2. Pronouns and their Antecedents

The antecedent of a pronoun is a noun or another pronoun for which the pronoun stands.

A personal pronoun, you will remember, is used in place or a noun. The noun is the word to which the pronouns refer and it is therefore its antecedent.

The noun usually comes first, either in the same sentence or in the sentence before it.


We met Mureithi. He is the medical doctor.

(He stands for Mureithi. Mureithi is the antecedent).

The students had come to school with their mobile phones.

(Their stands for students. Students is the antecedent).

Pronouns may be the antecedents of other pronouns.


Does everybody have his booklet?

(everybody, which is a singular indefinite pronoun, is the antecedent of his).

All of the students have brought theirs.

(All, which is a plural indefinite pronoun, is the antecedent of theirs).

Now, a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number. Agree here means that the pronoun must be the same in number as its antecedent. The word number means singular or plural.

If the pronoun is singular, the word that it stands for must be singular, and it must be plural if the word it stands for is plural.


Correct:     The scientists tested their new discovery.

               (Scientists is plural; their is plural.)

IncorrectThe scientists tested his new discovery.

Correct:     Mr. Kiama turned on his TV.

               (Mr Kiama is singular; his is singular)

Correct:     Nobody left her workstation.

                (Nobody is singular, her is singular)

NB: When the antecedent refers to both males and females, it is best to use the phrase his or her.

  • Use of we and us with nouns.

Phrases such as we students and us girls are often incorrectly used. To tell which pronoun to use, drop the noun and say the sentence without it.

Problem: (We, Us) boys study hard.    

Solution: We study hard. = We boys study hard.

Problem: The DC praised. (us, we) students.

Solution: The DC praised us. = The DC praised us students

  • Using the pronoun Them

The word them is always a pronoun. It is always used as the object of a verb or a preposition, never as a subject.


Correct: The president greeted them. (direct object of the verb greeted)

Correct: She gave them a sandwich. (Indirect object of the verb gave)

Correct: The information was useful to them. (object of the preposition to)

Incorrect: Them they arrived late.

  • Using Those

Although we previously said that those is used as a demonstrative pronouns, it is sometimes used as an adjective i.e. a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun. If a noun appears immediately after it, those is now an adjective, not a pronoun.


Those are the new desks that were bought. (Those is a pronoun, the subject of the verb are).

Those desks are attractive. (Those is an adjective modifying the noun desks).

Exercise 13

    Each of the following sentences has a double subject. Write each correctly.

  1. Papa Shirandula he is a good actor.
  2. Many people they find him funny.
  3. The show it was on television for many years.
  4. Their daughter she is also in that show.
  5. The shoes they are beautiful.
  6. People they like our hotel.
  7. My brother he drives a matatu.
  8. Our hotel it is open seven days a week.
  9. The TV it is very clear today.
  10. My brother and sister they work in Nairobi.

Exercise 14

Pick the correct pronoun in the brackets in the following sentences.

  1. (We, Us) students started a school magazine last month.
  2. Many careers are unpromising. (Them, Those) are the ones to avoid.
  3. One of (them, those) motivational speakers was especially interesting.
  4. A financial analyst told (we, us) students about his work.
  5. Finding jobs was important to (we, us) graduates.


A verb is a word that:

  • expresses  an action
  •  expresses the state that something exists, or

(iii) links the subject with a word that describes or renames it.

Hence, there are two kinds of verbs. These are action verbs and linking verbs.


       Action verbs express actions. They show what the subject does or did. Most verbs are action verbs.


Cats drink milk.

The ball flew over the goal post.

The farmer tills the land.

Robert ran to the house.

The action may be one that you can see.


They crowned their new King.

The action may be one that you cannot see.


She wanted recognition.

Whether the action can be seen or not, an action verb says that something is happening, has happened, or will happen.


A linking verb links the subject of a sentence with a word or words that :

  • express(es) the subject’s state of being


She is here. (expresses state of being)

She seems ready. (state of being)

  •  describe(s) or rename(s) the subject.


Anna is a nurse. (a nurse describes Anna)

Joyce is cheerful. (cheerful describes Joyce)

The road is bumpy.     (bumpy describes the road)

A linking verb does not tell about an action.

Common linking verbs

Am         look          grow          are             feel           remain

is            taste           become     was            smell     sound

were       seem          will             be             appear

NB: Some verbs can be either linking verbs or action verbs.


The crowd looked at the mangled car. – ACTION

The driver of the car looked shocked. – LINKING

The chef smelled the food. – ACTION

The food smelled wonderful. – LINKING


Identify the verb in each of the following sentences. Then label each verb Action or Linking.

  1. Queen Elizabeth of England seems an interesting historical figure.
  2. We watched the Olympic games on television.
  3. The crowd cheered loudly.
  4. She seems calm.
  5. PLO Lumumba is a quick thinker.
  6. The hunter aimed the arrow at the antelope.
  7. The referee blew the whistle to start off the game.
  8. She was very tired after the journey.
  9. She is careful when crossing the road.

10. The country seems prosperous.


 In some sentences, the verb is more than one word. It is in form of a phrase, which is called a verb phrase. A verb phrase consists of a main verb and one or more helping verbs. The main verb shows the action in the sentence.

The helping verb works with the main verb. Helping verbs do not show action.


Mark Francis has passed the examinations.

                         H.V.  M.V.

He will be admitted to a national school.

      H.V.H.V.  M.V.

His parents are happy with him.

                      H.V. M.V.

Common helping verbs

am          will      can      would    is       shall   could

must      are      have     may    was      has       should

were       had      might

Some verbs, such as do, have and be can either be used as main verbs or as helping verbs.


As main verbs                               As helping verbs

I will do the job.                            I do like the job.

Who has a pen?                             He has lost his pen.

They are my friends.            They are coming today.

Sometimes helping verbs and main verbs are separated by words that are not verbs.


I do not ride a bicycle any more.

Can we ever be friends again?

We should definitely apologise for the mistakes.

Exercise 2

Indicate H.V. under the Helping verb and M.V. under the Main verb in the following sentences.

  1. The school choir is singing a new song.
  2. The football season has finally begun.
  3. This car just can travel very fast.
  4. He had waited for this chance for years.
  5. My parents will be visiting us soon.
  6. Our friends have come for a visit.
  7. You must buy your ticket for the game.
  8. Sarah has chosen Kenyatta University for her degree course.
  9. She is hitting her child with a rubber strap.

10. I will go for the game next week.


The time of an action or the state of being is expressed by different forms of the verb. These forms are called the tenses of the verb.

There are three main forms of a verb: the present, the past, or the future.

The Present Tense

A verb which is in present tense indicates what the subject of the sentence is doing right now.


The teacher sees the students.

The verb sees tells that the teacher is seeing the students now. To show the present tense, an -s or -es is added to most verbs if the subject is singular.

If the subject is plural, or I or You, the -s, or -es is not added.


The bird hatches in the nest.

The stream flows down the hill.

The boys rush for their breakfast.

We talk a lot.

Rules for forming the Present Tense with Singular Subjects

1. Most verbs: add –s     

get – gets          play – plays          eat – eats

2. Verbs ending in s, ch, sh, x, and z: add -es

pass – passes                             mix – mixes                                                                        punch-punches                         buzz – buzzes                                                                             push – pushes

3. Verbs ending with a consonant and y: change the y to i and add -es                               

try – tries                           empty – empties

Exercise 3

Write the correct present form of each verb in the brackets in the following sentences.

  1. She carefully ________________ the map. (study)
  2. A fish _______________ in the water near me. (splash)
  3. She _______________ her hands. (wash)
  4. He ______________ to the classroom. (hurry)
  5. Bryan and I ____________ the assignment. (discuss)

The Past Tense

A verb which is in past tense shows what has already happened.


Tito liked his grandmother’s story.

The verb liked tells that the action in the sentence happened before now.

Rules for forming the Past Tense

1. Most verbs: Add  -ed                               play – played

                                                              talk – talked

                                                              climb – climbed

2. Verbs ending with e: Add -d                   praise – praised

                                                             hope – hoped

                                                              wipe – wiped

3. Verbs ending with a consonant and -y: Change the y to i and add –ed                                            bury – buried 

                                                                   carry – carried

                                                              study – studied

4. Verbs ending with a single vowel and a consonant: Double the final consonant and add-ed                                 stop – stopped

                                                            man – manned

                                                            trip – tripped

Exercise 4

Write the past tense forms of each of the verbs in brackets in the following sentences.

1. John _____________ his house burn into ashes. (watch)

2. The baby _____________ loudly. (cry)

3. The teacher ______________ at the naughty student. (yell)

4. The chef ______________ a delicious cake. (bake)

5. We ______________ for a present for our grandmother. (shop)

The Future Tense

A verb which is in future tense tells what is going to happen.


Evans will take his car to the garage.

She will probably come with us.

The verbs will take and will come tell us what is going to happen. Hence, they are in future tense.

       To form the future tense of a verb, use the helping verb will or shall  with the main verb.

Exercise 5

Write the future tense forms of the verbs in the following sentences.

  1. We write in exercise books.
  2. The train stopped at the station.
  3. He decides what he wants to do.
  4. They practise in the football field.
  5. Rats multiply very fast.

More Tenses

The above three forms of tenses can further be divided into:

1. The simple tenses                      – Present simple tense

                                                 – Past simple tense

                                                 – Future simple tense

2. The perfect tenses                – Present perfect tense

                                                  – Present perfect progressive                                                           – Past perfect tense

                                                     – Future perfect

                                                 – Future perfect progressive

3. The progressive tenses              – Present progressive tense

                                                 – Past progressive tense

                                                 – Progressive tense

– Future perfect progressive tense.

The simple Tenses

The most common tenses of the verb are the simple tenses. You use them most often in your speaking and writing.

1. Present simple tense.

Look at the following sentences.

  • I know Kisumu.
  • He goes to school every day.
  • The sun rises from the east.

All the above sentences contain a verb in the present simple tense. This tense is used for different purposes.

  • To state a personal fact

          Example: I know Kisumu.

     (ii) To point out a regular habit.

          Example: He goes to school every day.

     (iii) To state a known scientific fact

          Example: The sun rises from the east.

Exercise 6

Complete the following sentences putting the verbs in brackets in the present simple tense.

  1. They _________ their new principal. (like)
  2. Every morning, she ______________ her teeth. (brush)
  3. The earth ______________ on its own axis. (rotate)
  4. Twice a year, he _______________ his family. (visit)
  5. Air ____________ when heated. (rise)

2. Past Simple Tense

The past simple tense is used when an action has been completed.         


We cleaned our classrooms yesterday.

He drove the car this morning.

She planned the whole incident.

Exercise 7

Write down the past simple tense of the following words and then use each of them in sentences of your own.

start                                 breathe

add                                  roam

trap                                obey

annoy                            worry

pity                                fit

3. Future Simple Tense

     The future simple tense places the action or condition in the future. It is formed by using the word shall or will before the present form of the main verb.


We shall need help with her load.

She will eat the bananas alone.

The dancers will entertain them.

Exercise 8

Use the following words in future simple tense in sentences of your own.

see                                         develop

go                                          begin

exist                                       consume

introduce                              hunt

bring                                      become

The Perfect Tenses

  The perfect tenses are used to show that an action was completed or that a condition existed before a given time. The perfect tenses are formed using has, have, or had before the past participles, that is, verb forms ending in -ed.


1. Present Perfect Tense:

Ceasar has just finished his homework.

Kamau and Njoroge have now agreed to meet.

2. Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Kibet has been working in his shamba for two hours.

We have been swimming in this pool for ten minutes.

3. Past Perfect Tense

We had completed the work by the time the supervisor came.

Nobody knew that she had already remarried.

4. Past Perfect Continuous Tense

I had been trying to contact him for two hours before he finally appeared.

Mrs. Masumbuko had been feeling unwell the whole week before she decided to visit a doctor.

5. Future Perfect Tense

Agege will have sold his goats by two p.m.

By next term, twenty students will have dropped from this school.

6. Future Perfect Continuous

The players will have been playing for twenty minutes by the time the President arrives.

By the end of this term, she will have been living with her aunt for five years.

Exercise 9

Rewrite the following sentence changing the verb into present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, past perfect progressive, future perfect and future perfect progressive tenses. Make any necessary changes to make the sentences meaningful.

John comes here every year.

The Progressive Verb Forms

The progressive form of the verb shows continuing action.


I am singing

She was dancing.

The progressive form is formed using various forms of the verb be plus the present participle, that is,a verb form that ends in –ing.


1. Present Progressive Tense

I am reading a book about Red Indians.

Her mother is preparing dinner.

2. Present Perfect Progressive

He has been cleaning his car since morning.

They have been exercising for a week now.

3. Past Progressive Tense

She was cooking supper when I arrived.

They were fighting fiercely when the police arrived.

4. Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Sonko had been wearing an earing for years before he removed it.

Onyancha had been killing children before he was finally discovered.

5. Future Progressive

He will be tilling the land next week.

Joyce and Joan will be washing clothes all morning.

6. Future Perfect Progressive

The children will have been sleeping for two hours by the time their parents arrive.

John will have grown a beard by the time he is twelve.

Exercise 10

Rewrite the following sentence changing the verb into present progressive, present perfect progressive, past progressive, past perfect progressive, future progressive and future perfect progressive tenses. Make any necessary changes to make the sentences meaningful.

        Jane plays the guitar well.

Grade 8 English Notes For Junior Secondary(JSS)


Present tense

A verb and its subject must agree in number. To agree means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be in singular form. If the subject is plural, the verb form must be plural.


The baby cries every morning. – SINGULAR

The babies cry every morning. – PLURAL

Rules for subject-verb Agreement

1. Singular subject: Add -s or -es to the verb       

The man drives a bus.

She teaches in a primary school.

He studies his map.

2. Plural subject: Do not add -s or -es to the verb

The men drive buses.

They teach in primary schools.

We study our maps.

3. For I or You: Do not add -s or -es to the verb  

I hate books.

You like dogs.

I admire actors.

When a sentence has a compound subject, that is, two subjects joined by and, the plural form of the verb is used.


John and James work at Naivas Supermarket.

The teachers and the students respect one another a lot.

Subject-verb Agreement with be and have

The verbs be and have change their forms in special ways in order to agree with their subjects.

Various ways in which be and have change in order to agree with their subjects

 Subject           Be                Have
1.    Singular subjects:  I You He, she, it Singular Noun           am, was          are, were          is, was          is, was              have, had             have, had             has, had             has, had
2.Plural subjects: We You They Plural Noun               are, were         are, were         are, were         are, were                          have, had            have, had            have, had           have, had  

 Exercise 11

Put appropriate Present tense verbs in the blank spaces in the following sentences. Ensure that the subject agrees with the verb and that the sentence makes sense.

  1. The dogs _______________ their owners.
  2. She ______________ at the door.
  3. They ______________ the road at the Zebra-crossing.
  4. Many blind people ___________________ dogs as guides.
  5. We ________________ dogs every day.
  6. Mark always _______________ his house.
  7. I often _______________ with June.
  8. Mr. Mwangi __________________ his aunt in Mombasa.
  9. Jane and he ________________ next month.

10. The directors ______________ the company.


We have learned in the previous chapter how to form the past tense and how to use helping verbs to show that something has already happened. We saw that for most verbs, we form the past tense and participles by adding -d or -ed to the verb. Verbs that follow this rule are called Regular Verbs.


The farmer planted his crops last month. – past tense

The crops have been planted recently. – past participle.

 For all regular verbs, the past and the past participles are spelled alike. They are made up by adding -d or -ed to the present form of the verb.


PresentPastPast Participles
help rescue rush support play talk livehelped rescued rushed supported played talked livedhad helped had rescued had rushed had supported had played had talked had lived

The spelling of many regular verbs changes when –d or -ed is added, that is, the last consonant is doubled before adding -d or -ed. For those ending -y, it is dropped and replaced with –i:


PresentPastPast Participles
hop drug permit knit cry carryhopped drugged permitted knitted cried carried(had) hopped (had) drugged (had) permitted (had) knitted (had) cried (had) carried

Exercise 12

Write the present, past and past participles of the following verbs. Remember to change the spelling appropriately where necessary.

1. prevent                                  6. aid

2. donate                                   7. relieve

3. hurry                                     8. share

4. worry                                    9. enrol

5. train                                     10. save

Irregular Verbs

Some verbs do not form the past by adding -d or –ed. These verbs are called irregular verbs. There are only about sixty frequently used irregular verbs. For many of these, the past and the past participles are spelled the same but some are different.


He saw great misery all around him. – past

He has seen great misery all round him. – past participle

Common irregular Verbs

VerbPast tensePast participles
begin choose go speak ride fight throw come sing steal swim make run grow write ring drink lie do eat knowbegan chose went spoke rode fought threw came sang stole swam made ran grew wrote rang drank lay did ate knew  ( had) begun (had) chosen (had) gone (had) spoken (had) ridden (had) fought (had) thrown (had) come (had) sung (had) stolen (had) swum (had) made (had) run (had) grown (had) written (had) rung (had) drunk (had) lain (had) done (had) eaten (had) known

For a few irregular verbs, like hit and cut, the three principal parts are spelled the same. These ones offer no problems to learners. Most problems come from irregular verbs with three different forms. For example, the irregular verbs throw and ring.

throw                    threw                     had thrown

ring                       rang                        had rung

If you are not sure about a verb form, look it up in the dictionary.

Exercise 13

Write the past tense and past participles of the following irregular verbs and then use each of them in sentences of your own.

  1. arise                                        6. fall
  2. tear                                         7. blow
  3. wear                                       8. freeze
  4. lay                                          9. fly
  5. see                                        10. write



A verb is in active voice when the subject of the sentence performs the action.


Our teacher punished us for making noise in class.

     Subject       action

Players arrived for their first match early in the morning.

Subject  action

In the above sentences, the subject is who performed the action. Hence, the verbs of these sentences are in active voice.


The word passive means “acted upon”. When the subject of the sentence receives the action or expresses the result of the action, the verb is in passive voice.


We were punished by the teacher for making noise.

Sub               action

He was helped by a passer-by.

Sub        action                  

In the above sentences the subjects we and he receive the action.

When we do not know who or what did the action, or when we do not want to say who or what did it, we use the passive voice.

The passive form of a verb consists of some form of be plus the past participle.


       Active                                              Passive

Baabu explored the sea.       The sea was explored by Baabu.

                                                                     Be + past participle

The captain helped him.       He was helped by the captain.

                                                                Be+past participle

Exercise 14

Write the verbs from the following sentences and then label each one Active or Passive.

  1. The guest of honour presented prizes to the best students.
  2. The cattle were taken home by the herders.
  3. The health officer ordered the slaughter house closed.
  4. Peace and order has been restored in the area by the youth wingers.
  5. The workers cleared the farm.
  6. The crop was harvested by the hired workers.
  7. The government stressed the importance of unity among tribes.
  8. The farmers were urged to redouble their efforts in food production.
  9. The K.I.E is developing support materials for the 8-4-4 system of education.

    10. A fishing pond was started by the Wildlife Club in the school.


Some sentences express a complete thought with only a subject and an action verb.


The sun shines.

Subject     Action verb

In other sentences, a direct object must follow the action verb for the sentence to be complete. A direct object is a noun or a pronoun that receives the action of the verb.


The goalkeeper caught the ball.

       Subject        action verb direct object

Transitive verbs

A Transitive verb is an action verb that must take a direct object for the sentence to express a complete thought. A direct object answers the question what? or whom?


The captain steered the ship. (Steered what? the ship)

The teacher praised the students. (Praised whom? The students)

Transitive verbs cannot be used alone without direct objects in sentences; they would not have complete meanings.

Exercise 15

What are the action verbs and the direct objects in the following sentences?

  1. He carried his bag with him.
  2. The two friends discussed the examination paper.
  3. We took a trip to Nakuru last month.
  4. The water splashed me.
  5. He gave interesting facts about whales.
  6. We searched the house for rats.
  7. They cheered the team noisily.
  8. My brother bought a camera.
  9. Njoroge admires Papa Shirandula.

    10. We viewed the shouting star at midnight.

Intransitive verbs

An Intransitive verb is an action verb that does not require a direct object for the sentence to have complete meaning.


The ship sailed.

Subject      action verb

The child smiled.

Subject      action verb

They do not answer the questions what? or whom? Sometimes they answer the questions how? or how often?


The ship sailed smoothly. (How did it sail? Smoothly)

The child smiled repeatedly. (How often did the child smile? Repeatedly)

Both transitive and intransitive verbs

Some verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively.


We cheered our team noisily. (Transitive)

We cheered noisily. (Intransitive)

He broke the window pane. (Transitive)

The glass broke. (Intransitive)

NB: Only transitive verbs can be changed from active to passive voice.


Active                                                 Passive

He kicked the ball.                         The ball was kicked by him.

She bought a new dress                 A new dress was bought by her.

She wailed loudly                                      ??

They danced well                                      ??

Exercise 16

Indicate at the end of each of the following sentences whether the underlined verb is Transitive or Intransitive.

  1. Some whales sing songs.
  2. We gave our books to the gatekeeper.
  3. She cried bitterly.
  4. He made a sketch of the giraffe.
  5. John danced to the music.
  6. The bird flew in the air.
  7. They located the lost ship.
  8. She pleaded with him mercifully.
  9. The children heard the sound from the cave.
  10. It rained heavily.


Some pairs of verbs confuse learners of English because their meanings are related but not the same. Others confuse them because they sound similar, but their meanings are different. Others are similar in appearance but different in meanings.

 The pairsMeaningPresent tensePast tensePast participleExamples of its usage
1sit   setTo be in a seated position To put or placesit   setsat   setsat   setSit on that chair.   Set the cage down.
2.lie   layTo rest in a flat position   To put or placelie   laylay   laidlain   laidThe cat lies on the table. Lay the cloth on the table.
3.rise   raiseTo move upward   To move something upward or to liftrise   raiserose   raisedrisen   raisedThe children rise up early in the morning. The scout raised the flag.
4.let   leaveTo allow or permit   To depart or to allow to remain where it islet   leavelet   leftlet   leftLet the bird go free. Leave this house now! Leave the door closed.
5.learn   teachTo gain knowledge or skill To help someone learn or to show how or explainlearn   teachlearned   taughtlearned   taughtI learned a lot in school. That teacher taught me in Biology.
6.can mayTo be able  To be allowed   I can ride my bike well. You may go out.


Pick the correct verb from the ones given in brackets in the following sentences.

1. Studying spiders closely can (learn, teach) us how they get their food.

2. An insect that (lays, lies) motionless on a leaf can become prey to some other animal.

3. The lion will (lay, lie) there waiting for its prey.

4. The monster spider (sits, sets) patiently near its web.

5. Experience has (taught, learned) me not to take things for granted.

6. A bird (raises, rises) its body using its wings.

7. This (raises, rises) another question,

8. Nature has (learned, taught) spiders new tricks.

9. The watchman instantly (raises, rises) the alarm when there is danger.

10. The trappers have (lain, laid) fresh traps for the porcupines.


An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or a pronoun. To describe or modify means to provide additional information about nouns or pronouns. To modify further means to change something slightly.

Writers and speakers modify an idea or image by choosing certain describing words, which are called adjectives. Hence, these adjectives are also called modifiers. Adjectives are like word cameras. They are words that describe colours, sizes and shapes. Adjectives help you capture how the world around you looks and feels.

Adjectives tell:

1. What kind?


The powerful gorilla knocked down the hunter.

The old man walked slowly.

2. How many?


Three zebras were resting.

He has few friends.

3. Which one(s)?


This painting is attractive.

These farmers are clearing the field.

 There are 5 main kinds of adjectives, namely:-

1. Descriptive adjectives

2. Definite and indefinite adjectives

3. Demonstrative adjectives

4. Interrogative adjectives

5. Articles and possessive adjectives

Descriptive adjectives

Descriptive adjectives tell us the size, shape, age, colour, weight, height, make, nature and origin of the nouns they are describing.

Examples of descriptive Adjectives:

big huge small tiny thin fat wide shallow slenderoval circular triangular rectangular round square twisted pointed  old young agedred green white blue brown black maroon purple pinkheavy lighttall short  wooden plastic metal stony glass mudwarm cold shy famous peaceful brave powerful gentle kindKenya American Tanzania Italian South African Ugandan Korean  

Descriptive adjectives are of two types:

1. Common descriptive adjectives – these are adjectives that give general features of somebody or something. They are the adjectives of size, shape, age, colour, weight, height, make and nature. Refer to the examples in the diagram above.

2. Proper adjectives – These ones are formed from proper nouns. They are always capitalized. They always appear last in a string of adjectives modifying the same noun, just before the noun itself.


The Japanese ambassador

A Mexican carpet

An Italian chef

Note that when a proper adjective comprises of two words, both are capitalized.


A South African farmer

A North American cowboy

Exercise 1

Find the adjectives in the following sentences and indicate what types they are.

  1. Alaska is the largest state in the USA.
  2. The Alaskan Senator is Lord John Mc Dougal.
  3. Mt. Kenya is the tallest mountain in Kenya.
  4. Alaska has a tiny population of one and a half million people.
  5. Northern Province has small, scattered towns.
  6. A trip to Northern Kenya will take you across vast wilderness.
  7. American tourists are fond of wild animals.
  8. There is a huge lake in the Rift Valley Province.
  9. I sent a letter to my Australian pen pal.
  10. I have a beautiful Egyptian robe.

Demonstrative Adjectives

A demonstrative adjective tells which one or which ones. They are used before nouns and other adjectives.

There are 4 demonstrative adjectives in English: This, that, these and those. This and these are used to refer to nouns close to the speaker or writer. That and those refer to nouns farther away. This and that are used before singular nouns while these and those are used before plural nouns.


This picture is very beautiful.

Singular noun

That one is not as beautiful.

Singular noun

These drawings are very old.

Plural noun

Those ones were painted in Uganda.

Plural noun

Exercise 2

Choose the word in brackets that correctly completes each of the following sentences.

  1. My bus left the station before (that, those) matatus.
  2. (Those, These) chairs behind me were occupied.
  3. My seat has a better view than (this, that) one over there.
  4. (Those, That) man should fasten his seat belt.
  5. (This, That) car is old, but that one is new.
  6. (These, Those) clouds are far away.
  7. (This, That) window next to me has a broken pane.
  8. (That, This) chair near me is broken.
  9. My car is moving faster than (these, those) buses over there.

    10. (These, Those) goats grazing over there are my uncle’s.

Definite and indefinite adjectives

These are adjectives which tell how many or how much. They give the number or the quantity, either specific or approximate, of the noun in question.


Three elephants were killed by the game rangers.

He bought several houses in Kileleshwa.

Don’t put much sugar in the tea!

More examples

Three Ten Five Hundred Twenty  Much All Some Any Few Several Some Little Many Few Each Every Numerous

Adjectives that are in form of numbers are used with countable nouns:


Two calves were born yesterday.

Five chimpanzees performed funny tricks.

Many children like dinosaurs.

A definite or indefinite adjective may look like a pronoun, but it is used differently in a sentence. It is an adjective used to modify a noun.

Adjectives that are in form of quantity are used with uncountable nouns.


Do you have any water in the house?

How much flour did you buy?

Interrogative Adjectives

The interrogative adjectives are used with nouns to ask questions. Examples are what, which, and whose.


What movie do you want to see?

Which leaves turn colour first?

Whose son is he?

An interrogative adjective may look like an interrogative pronoun but it is used differently. It is an adjective, used to modify a noun.

Exercise 3

Underline the adjectives in the following sentences.

  1. Twenty bulls were slaughtered for the wedding.
  2. Few people know the name of our president.
  3. They stole all the money in the safe.
  4. There isn’t much sugar in the dish.
  5. Numerous disasters have hit China this year.
  6. What game is playing on TV tonight?
  7. Whose car is that one over there?
  8. Which house was broken into?
  9. I don’t know what misfortune has faced him.

10. Nobody knows which table was taken.

Articles and Possessive Pronouns

Two special kinds of adjectives are the articles and the possessive pronouns.


Articles are the words a, an and the. A and an are special adjectives called indefinite articles. They are used when the nouns they modify do not refer to any particular thing.


A student rang the bells. (No specific student)

An orange is good for your health. (No specific orange)

A is used before a noun that begins with a consonant sound. An is used before a noun that begins with a vowel sound. Note that it is the first sound of a noun, not the spelling, that determines whether to use a or an.


An hour        an heir

A hall

       The is a special adjective known as the definite article. It is used to refer to particular things.


The tourist was robbed. (A particular tourist).

The team began practising at 8 o’clock. (A particular team).

       All articles are adjectives. The is used with both singular and plural nouns, but a and an are used with singular nouns


The tourist, the tourists, a tourist

The adjective, the adjectives, an adjective

Exercise 4

Choose the correct article from the choices given in brackets in the following sentences.

  1. (A, An) mountain climber climbed Mt. Elgon.
  2. He went up a cliff and was stranded on (a, an) jagged rock.
  3. No one knew (a, the) route he had taken.
  4. (The, An) climber’s friend called the local police.
  5. The police began the search within (a, an) hour.
  6. A police dog followed (a, the) climber’s scent.
  7. A helicopter began (a, an) air search of the mountain.
  8. The dog followed the climber’s scent to (a, the) jagged edge of the cliff.
  9. A climber from (a, the) police team went down the jagged rock.

10. (A, An) rope was tied to the climber and he was pulled to safety.

Possessive Pronouns

       The words my, her, its, our and their are possessive pronouns, but they can also be used as adjectives. These modifiers tell which one, which ones or whose?


My brother likes Sean Paul, but his sister does not.

Of his songs, Ever Blazing is his favourite.

Our school produces heroes, its fame is widespread.

Exercise 5

Write the adjectives from the following sentences and the nouns they modify.

1. In her lifetime, Brenda Fasie composed many songs.

2. Her early songs entertained her fans all over the world.

3. Our first performance was successful.

4. Her coughing grew worse with time.

5. They agreed that it was their best goal in ten years.

Position of adjectives in sentences

1. Most adjectives appear immediately before the nouns they are modifying e.g.

Descriptive: The beautiful house belongs to my uncle.

Demonstrative: That house belongs to my uncle.

Numerals: Two houses were burned down.

Articles: The house on fire belongs to her sister.

Possessive pronouns: Their house was burned down.

2. Predicate Adjectives

       Some adjectives appear after the nouns that they are modifying. These adjectives are always used after linking verbs that separate them from the words they modify. An adjective that follows a linking verb and that modifies the subject is called a predicate adjective.


Joyce seemed lonely.

Her brother was upset.

He became concerned.

Exercise 6

Identify the predicate adjectives in the following sentences.

  1. Her early songs were often quiet and serious.
  2. One of her songs, Vulindlela, is very popular.
  3. The dark city below the sky seems calm and peaceful.
  4. Her performance in K.C.S.E. was brilliant.
  5. The West African singer Kofi Olominde is extraordinary.


       We have seen that adjectives describe nouns. One way in which they describe nouns is by comparing people, places or things.

       To compare two people, places or things, we use the comparative form of an adjective. To compare more than two, we use the superlative form of the adjective.


ONE PERSON: Kimenju is tall.

TWO PERSONS: Kimenju is taller than James.

THREE OR MORE: Kimenju is the tallest of all.


       The comparative form of the adjective is used to compare one thing, person or place with another one. It is formed in two ways.

1. For short adjectives, add –er.


great + er = greater                    sweet + er = sweeter

big + er = bigger                         light + er = lighter.

2. For longer adjectives, the comparative is formed by using the word more before them.


More handsome               more remarkable

More attractive                 more hardworking

       Most adjectives ending in -ful and -ous also form the comparative using more.


More successful      more curious                 more ferocious

More beautiful        more generous               more prosperous


       The superlative form of the adjective is used to compare a person, a place or a thing with more than one other of its kind.


Elephants are the largest animals in the jungle.

However, they are the most emotional animals.

       The superlative form of an adjective is formed in two ways.

1. By adding -est to the short adjective


great + est = greatest                   sweet + est = sweetest

big + est = biggest                        light + est = light

2. For longer adjectives, use most before them.


most mysterious                          most awkward

most successful                            most attractive

       The ending -er in the comparative becomes -est in the superlative while more becomes most.

Adjective                         comparative              superlative

   strong                             stronger                         strongest

    quick                              quicker                           quickest

   adventurous     more adventurous                 most adventurous

co-operative         more co-operative               most co-operative

Summary of rules comparing with adjectives:

1.For most short adjectives: Add -er or -est to the adjectivebright      dark         smart brighter   darker      smarter brightest darkest     smartest
2.For adjectives ending with e: Drop the e and add -er or -estsafe          nice          wide safer        nicer         wider safest       nicest       widest  
3.For adjectives ending with a consonant and y: Change the y to i and add -er or -estBusy              crazy  happy Busier            crazier                       happier Busiest           craziest                       happiest
4.For single-syllable adjectives ending with a single vowel and a consonant: Double the last consonant and add   -er or -estFlat                  slim                 fat Flatter             slimmer          fatter Flattest            slimmest        fattest
5.For most adjectives with two or more syllables: Use more or mostcareful           generous more careful more generous most careful  most generous

Grade 8 English Notes For Junior Secondary(JSS)

Points to note about Adjectives:

1. A comparative is used to compare two persons, or things or two groups of persons or things.


A rat is smaller than a mouse.

Buffaloes are larger than domestic cows

2. A superlative is used to compare a thing or a person to more than one other of its kind.


Lions are the bravest of all animals.

Elephants are the largest of all herbivores.

3. You must use the word other when comparing something with everything else of its kind.


Leopards are more ferocious than any other cat.

4. Do not use both -er and more, or -est and most.

Incorrect: Men die more earlier than women.

Correct: Men die earlier than women.

Incorrect: My father is the most oldest of the three brothers.

Correct: My father is the oldest of the three brothers.

Exercise 7

Write the adjectives in brackets in the following sentences correctly.

  1. My next sculpture will be even ___________________ (beautiful).
  2. That was the ________________ cartoon I have ever watched (funny).
  3. English is my ____________ subject of all (enjoyable).
  4. Job is the ______________ person in his family. (energetic)
  5. She is the ______________ of the three nurses. (helpful)
  6. That story sounds ____________ than fiction. (strange)
  7. He is _______________ than a cat. (curious)
  8. Her school grades are ______________ than mine. (high)
  9. You are _______________ than Maria. (creative)
  10. My next test will be _______________ than this one. (simple)

Irregular comparisons

       Some adjectives have special forms for making comparisons. That is, they do not form their comparatives by use of -er or more, or their superlatives by use of -est or most. Instead, these adjectives change the words completely to form comparatives and superlatives.


Adjectives                   Comparative            Superlative

good                                 better                            best

well                                   better                            best

bad                                    worse                            worst

ill                                      worse                            worst

little                                  less or lesser                least

much                                more                             most

many                                more                             most

far                                     farther                           farthest

Example of use in sentences:

The presentation of our play was good.

Our second performance was better.

But our last performance was the best.

Exercise 8

Write the correct forms of the adjectives in brackets in the following sentences.

1. The comedy was the ________________ show of the three. (good)

2. Mary had a _________________ cold yesterday. (bad)

3. It was her ____________ performance this year. (good)

4. Her illness is getting _____________ every day. (bad)

5. The old woman received the _____________ amount of money from the MP. (little)

6. Smoke your cigarette _______________ away from the children. (far)

7. There was ______________ noise in the classroom than yesterday. (little)

8. The musician said that that was a very ______________ year for him. (good)

9. This year’s songs were much ______________ than last year’s. (good)

10. He has the _____________ pairs of shoes in the school. (many)


1. Those and Them

 Those is an adjective if it is followed by a noun. It is a pronoun if it is used alone.


Those thieves are daring! (Adjective modifying thieves)

Those are thieves! (Pronoun)

       Them is always a pronoun. It is used only as the object of a verb or as the object of a preposition. It is never used as an adjective.


We followed them. (Object of a verb)

They caught one of them. (Object of a preposition)

We heard them thieves breaking the door. (Incorrect)

2. The extra Here and There with demonstrative adjectives

       It is incorrect to use the demonstrative adjectives this, that, those, and these with here and there before the nouns they modify.


“This here job”

“That there house”

“These here books”

“Those there carpets”

       The adjectives this and these include the meaning of here whereas the adjectives that and those include the meaning of there. Saying this here is like repeating oneself.

3. Kind and sort with demonstrative adjectives

       Kind and sort are singular and hence should be used with singular demonstrative adjectives this and that.


I like this kind of story.

She likes that sort of food.

       Kinds and sorts are plural and should be used with plural demonstrative adjectives these and those.


Those sorts of horror movies scare me.

These kinds of sports are for strong people.

Exercise 9

Choose the correct adjectives from the ones given in brackets in the following sentences.

1. A robot is one of (those, them) machines that looks and acts human.

2. (These, This) sorts of machines are very strange.

3. (This, This here) church was built in 1921.

4. (Them, Those) mushrooms are very delicious.

5. (Them, Those) soldiers won the battle.

6. People call (these, this) kinds of songs Soul.

7. John needed a name for (them, those) songs.

8. (This, this here) play is called Aminata.

9. Human beings have a fascination with (those, that) kind of machine.

10. (These, This) sort of a car is meant for ministers.


       An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs tell how, when, where, or to what extent an action happens.


HOW: The man walked quickly.

WHEN: It will rain soon.

WHERE: We shall meet here at 2 p.m.

TO WHAT EXTENT: He is extremely rude.

Other examples:

HOW                WHEN             WHERE              TO WHAT EXTENT

happily              sometimes         underground           fully

secretly              later                   here                            extremely

together             tomorrow          there                           quite

carefully            now                   inside                         very

sorrowfully       finally               far                               rarely

painfully           again                 upstairs

fast                     often                  downstairs

hard                   once                  somewhere

slowly               first                    forward

hurriedly           next                   behind

quietly               then                   above

Adverbs used to describe verbs

       Adverbs that describe verbs tell how, when, where and to what extent an action happened.


HOW: John waited patiently for his turn.

WHEN: He is now walking into the office.

WHERE: He will eat his lunch there.

TO WHAT EXTENT: He is very pleased with himself.

       Adverbs make the meaning of the verb clearer.


He will eat his lunch. (Without adverb)

He will eat his lunch there. (The adverb makes it clear where the action of eating will take place.)

Exercise 1

Write the adverbs in the following sentences and then indicate whether the adverb tells how, when, where, or to what extent.

1. The tourist travelled far.

2. They cheerfully greeted their grandmother.

3. Tina hurried downstairs when she heard the knock.

4. He worked carefully and skilfully.

5. She was extremely agitated.

6. The scientist looked curiously at the creature.      

7. Soon the bell was rung.

8. The hall was fully occupied.

9. They hugged their grandmother adorably.

10. He brought the cake down.

Adverbs used to describe adjectives

       Adverbs that tell to what extent can be used to describe adjectives.


The cave was very dark.

                            adv  adj                  

The tea was extremely hot.                                        

                             adv       adj

Other adverbs used with adjectives

Just                   nearly                somewhat               most

       These adverbs make the adjectives they are describing more understandable and precise.


The tomb was dark. (Without adverb)

The tomb was fully dark. (The adverb fully describes the extent of the darkness).

Exercise 2

Identify the adverb in each of the following sentences and then indicate the adjective it describes.

1. He is a highly successful businessman.

2. The extremely cold weather made me shiver.

3. They are quite difficult to deal with.

4. The house is barely visible from here.

5. He is a very old man by now.

6. She is mysteriously secretive about her activities.

7. Jackline is horribly mean with her money.

8. The book was totally exciting.

9. The secretary was completely mad when the money was stolen.

10. The boss is never punctual for meetings.

Adverbs used to describe other adverbs

       Some adverbs that tell to what extent are used to describe other adverbs.


The student spoke very softly.

                                    adv  adv

The cold subsided very gradually.

                                  adv    adv

       These adverbs make the adverbs they are describing more understandable and clear.


She spoke rudely. (Without adjective modifier)

She spoke extremely rudely. (extremely describes the extent of her rudeness).

Exercise 3

Identify the adverbs modifying other adverbs in the following sentences.

1. The mourners covered the casket with earth very gradually.

2. He appeared on her surprisingly quickly.

3. The sun appeared somewhat closer that day.

4. He drinks extremely irresponsibly.

5. The driver sped the car totally carelessly.

Specific categories of Adverbs

1. Adverbs of time – These answer the question when?


He joined the class yesterday.

Today, I will go to the cinema.

2. Adverbs of place– These answer the question where?


Mrs. Kilome has gone out.

The bus stop is near the post office.

3. Adverbs of frequency: These answer the question how often?


She often leaves without permission.

He always works hard.

4. Adverbs of manner: These answer the question how?


Many ran fast to catch the bus

He painted the house badly.

5. Adverbs of degree. These answer the question how much?


Luka is extremely intelligent.

She is very ill.


       Many adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective.


Slow + -ly = slowly               quiet + -ly = quietly

       Sometimes the addition of -ly to an adjective may require changing the spelling in the adjective.


Easy + -ly = easily (y changes to i)

Full + -ly = fully (ll changes to l)

       Other adverbs are complete words on their own. That is, they are not formed from other words.


fast                 tomorrow        soon                first                later

next               inside              somewhere          quite


1. Soon and quite can be used only as adverbs.


The school will soon open.

The holiday was quite well spent.

2. Some other modifiers, like late or first, can either be used as adverbs or adjectives.


The visitors arrived late. (adverb)

The late arrivals delayed the meeting. (adjective)

The robbers had gotten there first. (adverb)

The first house was already broken into. (adjective)

3. When you are not sure whether an adjective or an adverb has been used in a sentence, ask yourself these questions.

(i) Which word does the modifier go with?

If it goes with an action verb, an adjective or another adverb, it is an adverb.


The story teller spoke quietly. – used with an action verb.

The story teller was very interesting. – used with an adjective.

The story teller spoke extremely slowly. –used with another adverb.

       But if it goes with a noun or a pronoun, it is an adjective.


The quiet story teller spoke. – used with a noun.

He was quiet. – with a pronoun.

(ii) What does the modifier tell about the word it goes with?

       If the modifier tells when, where, how, or to what extent, it is an adverb.


He will come tomorrow. – When?

He will come here. – Where?

He will come secretly. – How?

He will be very cautious. – To what extent?

       But if it tells which one, what kind, or how many, it is an adjective.

He will steal this cow. – Which one?

He will carry a sharp spear. – What kind?

He will be jailed for ten years. – How many?

(iii) Adverbs and predicate adjectives

You will recall that we said that an adjective appears after a linking verb and modifies the subject.


He became successful. (successful modifies he)

You seem tired. (tired modifies you)

You appear sick. (sick modifies she)

You look great! (great modifies you)

They sound bored. (bored modifies they)

It feels wet. (wet modifies it)

The oranges taste sweet. (sweet modifies oranges)

The baby grows big. (big modifies baby)

She smells nice. (nice modifies she).

       Sometimes the verbs in the sentences above are used as action verbs.  In this case, they are followed by adverbs, not adjectives. They modify the verbs and tell how, when, where, or to what extent.


The singer looked up.

                v     adv

We tasted the chocolate eagerly.

   v                                    adv

The principal appeared suddenly.

                        V            adv

(iv) Good and well

       Good and well have similar meanings, but differ in their use in a sentence.


Incorrect: He narrates the story good.

Correct: He narrates the story well.

       Good is always an adjective and modifies nouns or pronouns. It is never used to modify a verb.


He is a good narrator. (Adjective modifying the noun narrator)

       Well can be used as either an adjective or an adverb.


I feel well. (As an adjective)

He drives well. (As an adverb)

Exercise 4

Choose the correct form of the words in brackets in the following sentences.

  1. Luos tell you (quick, quickly) that they are not Bantus.
  2. Over the months, the snow (gradual, gradually) melted.
  3. Rice tastes especially (good, well) with avocado.
  4. The popularity of video games has grown (rapid, rapidly).
  5. The name of the town may sound (strange, strangely) to some people.
  6. These puppies look a little (odd, oddly).
  7. The idea of breaking the door does not sound (reasonable, reasonably).
  8. Visitors eat Nyama Choma very (rapid, rapidly).
  9. If Nyama Choma has been prepared (good, well), it tastes even better than chicken.

10. Since fish is high in protein and low in fat, it is bound to keep you (good, well).


       We have seen that we can use adjectives to compare people, things or places.

       Adverbs can also be used to compare actions. And like adjectives, we use the comparative form of an adverb to compare two actions and the superlative form of an adverb to compare more than two actions.


ONE ACTION:         Maree swims fast.

TWO ACTIONS:      Maree swims faster than Ciku.

THREE OR MORE: Maree swims fastest of all.

       Just like adjectives, adverbs have special forms or spelling for making comparisons.


       The comparative form of the adverb is used to compare one action with another. It is formed in two ways:

  1. For short adverbs, add –er.


The bird flew higher than the helicopter.

The president arrived sooner than we expected.

2. For most adverbs ending in -ly, use more to make the comparative.


She visited him more frequently than Martin.

The tractor towed the lorry more powerfully than the bull-cart.


       The superlative form is used to compare one action with two or more others of the same kind.


Of the three athletes, Kipruto runs the fastest.

The lion roars the loudest of all the big cats.

       Adverbs that form the comparative with –er form their superlative with -est. Those that use more to form comparative use most to form superlative.


Adverbs                 Comparative                    Superlative

   long                             longer                              longest

   fast                               faster                                fastest

   softly                          more softly                   most softly

   politely                       more polite                   most polite

Points to Remember

1. Use the comparative to compare two actions and the superlative to compare more than two.


Comparative: He sat nearer to the window than him

Superlative: He sat nearest to the window than all the others.

2. Do not leave out the word other when comparing one action with every other action of the same kind.


Incorrect: The lion roared louder than any lion.

Correct: The lion roared the loudest of all.

3. Do not use both -er and more or -est and most.

Incorrect: The dancer moved more faster than before.

Correct: The dancer moved faster than before.

Summary of rules for comparing with Adverbs

1                       1.For most adverbs Add -er or -est to the adverbhard               late                deep harder           later             deeper hardest           latest                  deepest
2For most adverbs comprising of two or more syllables: Use more or most with the adverbSkilfully            firmly    rudely more skilfully more firmly                       most rudely most skilfully  most firmly      most rudely  

Exercise 5

Write each of the following sentences using the correct form of the adverb.

1. Does she cry ______________ (often) than the baby does?

2. She crosses the river _____________ (slowly) than her son does.

3. James jumps into the swimming pool _____________ (quickly).

4. Charles swims _____________ (skilfully) than all of us.

5. Of all the athletes, Tecla Lorupe is ____________ (fast).

6. The antelope disappeared _____________ (swiftly) than the gazelle.

7. Chicharito scored the goal _____________ (accurately) of all.

8. Mange and Marto stayed in the hall ______________ (long) of all.

9. Sarah walks _____________ (gracefully).

10. Ng’ang’arito sang ____________ (sweetly) of all participants.


       A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between other words in a sentence.


The cat lay under the table.

       The preposition under connects the verb lay with table. Under points out the relationship between lay and table.

       Hence a preposition is a word that links another word or word group to the rest of the sentence. The noun or pronoun after the preposition is called the object of the preposition. The table is the object of the preposition under in the above sentence. The preposition under relates the verb lay to the noun table.

More examples:

She gave it to me.

(The preposition to relates the pronoun me with the action gave).

I liked the bike with the metal handles.

The preposition with relates the noun handles with the noun bike.


about             before              except          on                     toward

above            behind             for                    onto               under

aboard           below              from                out                 underneath

across            beneath           in                     outside          until

after               beside              inside              over               up

against           between           into                  past                upon

along             beyond            like                  since              with

among           by                    near                 through         within

around           down               of                     throughout    without

at                    during             off                    to

       From the above list of prepositions, you will note that some of them tell where, others indicate time, others show special relationships like reference or separation.

       Changing one preposition with another in a sentence changes the meaning of the sentence.


The cat lay under the table.

The cat lay on the table.

       Lying under the table means below the surface of the table but on means above the surface.

Exercise 1

Write the preposition in each of the following sentences and say what relationship it indicates.

1. Sometimes they lie on the ground.

2. They have grown maize for food.

3. The children played with the dolls.

4. A man found some treasure in the cave.

5. They make clothes from cotton.

Exercise 2

Use the most appropriate preposition to complete the sentences below.

1. Driving had been my dream ________________ years.

2._____________ 1990, I bought a second-hand car.

3.______________ that year, I learned how to drive.

4. I rolled the car ________________ the road _____________ more than two kilometres.

5. I was really thrilled ______________ the experience.


       A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, its object and any words that modify the object.


The school children waited for the green light.

In this sentence, the preposition is for, its object is light, and the modifier, or adjective, is green. The entire preposition phrase modifies the verb waited.

       Sometimes two or more nouns or pronouns are used as objects in a prepositional phrase.


He needs a worker with diligence and a good character.

The preposition with has two objects: diligence and character.

Exercise 3

Identify the prepositional phrase in each of the following sentences. Underline the preposition once and its objects twice.

1. Donkeys help people in many ways.

2. They bring happiness to the people around them.

3. In large cities, they help to carry water.

4. On farms, they carry heavy loads.

5. How could you travel across a river?

6. You might swim to the other side.

7. You might cross at a shallow place.

8. You can cross by boat.

9. Bridges are a better solution to the problem.

10. Most bridges are built over water.

Types of prepositional phrases

       Prepositional phrases can either be:

(i) Adjective prepositional phrases – these prepositional phrases, just like adjectives, modify nouns and pronouns.


A scout leader wears a uniform with many badges.

       In this sentence, with many badges is an adjective prepositional phrase modifying the noun uniform.

(ii) Adverb prepositional phrases – these ones, just like adverbs, modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.


Scouts rain for many hours.

(The adverb prepositional phrase for many hours modifies the verb train.)

They are active in all public functions.

(The adverb prepositional phrase in all public functions modifies the adjective active.)

The scout leader commands forcefully with a loud voice.

(The adverb prepositional phrase with a loud voice modifies the adverb forcefully.)

       We have seen that the object of a preposition is the noun or pronoun that follows the preposition. When the object of the preposition is a pronoun, we use an object pronoun like me, you, him, her, it, us, and them. (And not a subject pronoun like I, he, she, we, and they).


Correct: I gave a present to her.

Incorrect: I gave a present to she.

Correct: I gave a present to Jane and her.

Incorrect: I gave a present to Jane and she.

Exercise 4

Choose the pronoun in brackets that correctly completes each of the following sentences.

1. The dog chased after Travis and (her, she).

2. Cleaning the house was a tasking job for Evans and (I, me).

3. We planned a family picture of our parents and (us, we).

4. The victory belonged to (he, him).

5. Michael and Bernard stood behind Mom and (she, her).

6. The crowd around (we, us) started cheering.

7. My little sister ran behind Sammy and (I, me).

8. The toys belong to Karen and (him, he).

9. Johnny sat between James and (me, I).

10. I went to the cat race with Jim and (she, her).

       Sometimes one prepositional phrase immediately follows another.


The thief entered the house through the door on the right.

(through the door modifies the verb entered and tells where. on the left modifies the noun door and tells which one.)

        A prepositional phrase can be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence.


BEGINNING: At dusk we closed the shop.

MIDDLE: The chief of the area was helpful.

END: The path went through the village.

Preposition or Adverb?

       Sometimes the same word can be used as either a preposition or an adverb. How can you tell the difference between the two?


PREPOSITION:    He has a box inside the house.

ADVERB:             They ran inside.

       You can tell the difference by remembering the following:

(i) A preposition never stands alone. It is always followed by its object, a noun or a pronoun.


The helicopter flew past the airport. (Preposition)

The aircraft was parked inside the hangar. (Preposition)

(ii) An adverb is never followed by a noun or a pronoun, may be by an adverb.


The helicopter flew past. (Adverb)

The aircraft was parked inside. (Adverb)

The helicopter flew past noisily. (Adverb)

       Therefore, if a word begins a prepositional phrase, it is a preposition. If it stands alone or is followed by an adverb, it is an adverb.

Some words that can be used either as prepositions or adverbs.

above                                   down                               over

along                                    in                                     out

around                                 Inside                              outside

below                                   near                                 under

by                                         off                                   up

Exercise 5

Indicate after each of the following sentences if it has a preposition or an adverb.

  1. Jack stood outside the shop.
  2. He was curious and went inside.
  3. He saw strange things in every corner.
  4. An old coat and several sweaters lay over a chair.
  5. Blue and green umbrellas stood above the fire place.
  6. He looked up suddenly.
  7. He sat down heavily.
  8. Then he lifted the curtain and peeped outside.
  9. A jogger ran by

10. Jack ran out.


       Negatives are words that mean “no” or “not”. These words are adverbs and not prepositions!


She has no more work.

There are none left.

Other common negatives

not                     nowhere        nobody         aren’t           haven’t

never                 nothing          no one           doesn’t      wouldn’t        

       The combination of a verb and not also form a contraction which is also a negative. The letters n’t stand for not.


They won’t be able to attend the funeral.

He couldn’t make a speech.

Double negatives:

       A sentence should have only one negative. Using double negatives in a sentence is usually incorrect. A double negative is the use of two negative words together when only one is needed.


Incorrect                                                    Correct

We don’t need no money.       We don’t need any money.  

She hasn’t bought nothing. She hasn’t bought anything.

Mark hasn’t no homework.  Mark hasn’t any homework. Or

                                                 Mark has no homework.

       When you use contractions like don’t and hasn’t, do not use negative words after them. Instead, use words like any, anything, and ever.


We don’t have any work.

He hasn’t any work.

I won’t ever respond to the summons.

       Other negatives include hardly, barely, and scarcely. They are never used after contractions like haven’t and didn’t.


Incorrect: We couldn’t hardly continue with the work.               Correct:     We could hardly continue with the work.

Incorrect:  The child can’t barely walk.                         

Correct:      The child can barely walk.

Exercise 6

Write the following sentences choosing the correct negatives from the ones given in brackets.

1. They (have, haven’t) nothing to eat.

2. Isn’t (anyone, no one) at home?

3. Didn’t you (ever, never) swim in that river?

4. There isn’t (anybody, nobody) weeding the farm.

5. Ann and Martin haven’t (anywhere, nowhere) to sleep.

6. Our friends (had, hadn’t) none of the fun.

7. Isn’t (anybody, nobody) watching Tahidi High?

8. Hasn’t (anyone, no one) thought of washing the utensils?

9. Tabby (hasn’t, has) had no luck.

10. We haven’t (ever, never) tried.


       A conjunction is a word that connects words or groups of words. Like prepositions, conjunctions show a relationship between the words they connect. But, unlike prepositions, conjunctions do not have objects.

There are 3 main categories of conjunctions;

  •  Coordinating conjunctions
  •  Subordinating conjunctions
  •  Correlative conjunctions


       Coordinating conjunctions connect related words, groups of words, or sentences. There are three coordinating conjunctions: and, but and or. And is used to join words, groups of words, or sentences together. But shows contrast while or shows choice.


The bull and the cart are inseparable. (Connects two subjects).

The cart carries the farmer and his tools. (Connects two direct objects).

The food was hard and tasteless. (Connects two predicate adjectives).

Each night, the dancers danced in a circle or in several other patterns. (Connects two prepositional phrases).

Some people died in the fracas, but most managed to escape, alive. (Connects two sentences).

Grade 8 English Notes For Junior Secondary(JSS)

Exercise 1

Complete each of the following sentences using the most appropriate coordinating conjunction

1. Bats and insects fly, ____________ only birds have feathers.

2. Eagles build nests on cliffs ______________ in tall trees.

3. Parrots live in wild places _______________ in zoos.

4. Swallows ______________ sparrows often build nests in buildings.

5. Hummingbirds are tiny __________ very brave.

6. Many birds fly south in winter, ______________ others do not.

7. Their feathers keep them warm ____________ dry.

8. A bird can fly forward _____________ backward.

9. Many birds shed old feathers ______________ grow new ones.

10. Their legs are weak ____________ their wings are strong.


       Subordinating conjunctions connect two or more clauses to form complex sentences. (Refer to Part Two of this handbook). Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate clauses. They include because, since, if, as, whether, and for.


If I go home, my dog will follow me.

(The subordinating conjunction if connects the subordinate clause I go home with the main clause my dog will follow me.)

The stayed inside the church because it was raining.

He was always rude since he was a child.

The rain fell as they entered the building.

The pastor asked the congregation whether they were happy.

The man rejoiced for he had won a prize.

Exercise 2

Join the following pairs of sentences using the most appropriate subordinating conjunctions.

1. They arrived late. It was raining heavily.

2. John worked hard. He wanted to buy a house.

3. I won’t carry the umbrella. You need it.

4. I drove the car madly. I was late for the meeting.

5. He will come. The meeting ends.


       Correlative conjunctions are conjunctions that are used in pairs to connect sentence parts. These include either ….. or, neither ….. nor, not only……. but also, whether ……. or and both …… and.


Both boys and girls attended the conference.

People brought not only food but also clothes for the victims of the floods.

The students ride either on bicycles or motorbikes.

The sailor had to decide whether to sail on or head back when the weather changed.

Neither John nor James was moved by the shocking news.

Exercise 3

Join the following pairs of sentences using the correlative conjunctions in brackets.

1. The vehicles stopped for repairs. The vehicles stopped for fuel. (either…..or)

2. The drivers knew they had to travel more than fifty kilometres. If they did not travel more than fifty kilometres, they would have to endure harsh storms. (either….or).

3. Many people build their own homes. Many people grow their own food. (not only…but also)

4. Men wanted to buy the pictures. Women also wanted to buy the pictures.(both…. and)

5. Maize is an important part of a Kenyans’ diet. Meat is important too. (both… and)


       An interjection is either a single word or a short group of words that is used to express a feeling or emotion. Interjections can express such feelings as urgency, surprise, relief, joy, or pain. An interjection that expresses strong emotion is often followed by an exclamation mark. An interjection that expresses mild emotion is usually followed by a comma.


Let’s go! We can’t sleep before we find the missing boy. (urgency)

Phew! I was afraid we would never find him. (relief)

Oh, you have grown so big. (surprise)

Well, I have never been so happy. (joy)

Exercise 1

Identify the interjection in the following sentences and indicate what feeling or emotion it expresses.

  1. Say, have you heard about Nameless and Jua Kali, the famous Kenyan musicians?
  2. Wow! Seeing the calf being born was exciting.
  3. “All right!” I yelled to him. “This is not the right thing to do.”
  4. Boy! Some people felt wonderful being in the air balloon, but I felt nervous.
  5. Oh, did that boat rock back and forth for a while.

Grade 8 English Notes For Junior Secondary(JSS)

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