Identifying Adjectives and Dialogue

Task: The following passage, from the second Harry Potter novel (The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling), shows how you can add description and dialogue to a story. Print out thsi page and

  1. Underline descriptive adjectives (draw an arrow from the adjective to the work or phrase it modifies)
  2. Circle adverbs. (draw an arrow from the adjective to the work or phrase it modifies)
  3. Use a highlighter to highlight dialogue.
Screenshot from the movie version
Screenshot from the movie version

As Harry squelched along the deserted corridor he came across somebody who looked just as preoccupied as he was. Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost of Gryffindor Tower, was staring morosely out of a window, muttering under his breath, “. . . don’t fulfill their requirements . . . Half an inch, if that . . . .”

“Hello, Nick,” said Harry.

“Hello, hello,” said Nearly Headless Nick, starting and looking round. He wore a dashing plumed hat on his long curly hair, and a tunic with a ruff, which concealed the fact that his neck was almost completely severed. He was pale as smoke, and Harry could see right through him to the dark sky and torrential rain outside.

“You look troubled, young Potter,” said Nick, folding a transparent letter as he spoke. and tucking it inside his doublet.


Things to note:

  • The adjectives and adverbs are spread throughout the passage not all bunched together in one or two sentences.
  • There is a good balance of narration, dialogue and description.
  • To introduce the dialogue, the author usually sticks with ‘said’, but introduces one line of dialogue with a more descriptive tag: muttering,   You learn more about dialogue tags through doing this activity: How I Said It – Dialogue Tags (Whispered, Shouted, Exclaimed)

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