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All About 3rd Grade Grammar: What To Teach, Worksheets, Games, and Interactive Lessons!

Are you wondering what grammar skills should be taught in third grade? Here’s an overview of the third grade grammar standards, plus activity ideas for how to teach them! Each of the grammar units includes worksheets, posters, interactive notebooks, centers, and more!

3rd Grade Grammar Standards

What grammar is taught in third grade?

  • Spoken vs. Written Language
  • Capitalization
  • Real-Life Connections
  • Commas in Addresses
  • Context Clues
  • Affixes & Roots
  • Spelling Patterns
  • Reference Materials
  • Parts of Speech
  • Plural Nouns
  • Dialogue
  • Possessives
  • Abstract Nouns
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Verb Tenses
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Superlatives
  • Non Literal Language
  • Shades of Meaning
  • Conjunctions
  • Word Choice
  • Producing Sentences
  • Spatial and Temporal Relationships

If you’re looking for resources to help you teach all of these third-grade grammar skills, check out these units!

Unit 1: Spoken vs. Written Language, Real Life Connections, Commas in Address, Capitalization in Titles

Spoken vs. Written Language

Third grade students begin to learn the difference between informal and formal language. Spoken language is not usually grammatically correct, uses slang, and is how they would talk to friends and family. Written language is formal, professional, used for writing reports, and should be grammatically correct.

spken language vs written language poster in a notebook

Third grade students begin to learn the difference between informal and formal language. Spoken language is not usually grammatically correct, uses slang, and is how they would talk to friends and family. Written language is formal, professional, used for writing reports, and should be grammatically correct.

Real Life Connections

Students learn to use words to describe things in real life. Ex: A firefighter can be described as strong, brave, and courageous. Who else in the community is brave?

Capitalization in Titles

Students will learn that the first and last word in a title should always be capitalized as well as other important words. Less important and small words (such as and, the, of, a, an, in, on, to) do not need to be capitalized.

Commas in Addresses

This is such an important skill for students to learn! Not only will students learn to put the comma in between the city and state, they can also be taught how to write out addresses on envelopes. (If you can get someone to donate stamps to your class, it would be fun for students to get to address and envelope and mail themselves something!)

Unit 2: Context Clues, Root Words and Affixes, and Spelling Patterns

This is a big, six-week-long unit!

Context Clues

types of context clues poster in notebook

Students will learn to use the clues in nearby text to find the meaning of unknown words or phrases.

You can teach your students to use synonyms, antonyms, examples, and definitions found in the text. This picture is a poster found in the unit that gives examples of different types of context clues.

multiple meaning words puzzles
Learning context clues helps students understand words that have multiple meanings.

Root Words and Prefixes

poster: common greek and latin roots chart in a notebook
Common Greek & Latin Roots to teach in 3rd grade grammar lessons

Teaching students common Greek and Latin roots will help them understand the meaning of more complex words.

Suffixes and Ending Rules

Just like students are taught the meaning of common prefixes and how they can add meaning to a base word, they will also learn about suffixes and the rules for adding them at the end of base words.

Word Families

Learning common spelling patterns within word families can help students know how to spell other words that follow the same patterns. This unit goes over various long a, e, i, o, and u word families.

Position-Based Spelling

In this unit, students will learn a variety of position-based spelling rules such as:

  • I before E
  • QU
  • CK, K, and IC
  • GE, and DGE
  • Doubling F, L, or S
  • R-Controlled Vowels
  • CH and TCH

For all of the spelling rules taught within this unit there are spelling word lists provided! You can use these lists to have spelling tests throughout the year and continue to practice all of these spelling rules that you’ve taught.

Syllable Patterns

Students will learn six types of syllable patterns: closed syllable, open syllable, vowel consonant E, vowel teams and diphthongs, consonant +LE, and R-Controlled vowels.

Unit 3: Reference Materials, Parts of Speech, Plural Nouns

Reference Materials

Students will learn how to use dictionaries and the skill of using guide words. They’ll also learn how to use glossaries in a nonfiction text. With this standard, it’s important to give your students some practice with putting words in alphabetical order.

Nouns and Regular Plural Nouns

In unit three, students will learn about nouns and making them plural. First they’ll learn that nouns are people, places, and things. Then they will learn how to make the nouns plural based on the ending of the base word.

Most nouns will simply receive and S. Nouns that end in a consonant +y will drop the Y and add IES. Nouns that end in -s, -ch, -sh, -x, -z, or -ss will get an ES.

Irregular Plural Nouns and Pronouns

Irregular plural nouns are nouns that do not become plural in the regular way, meaning they don’t follow the rules taught above. Irregular plural nouns need to be taught since there are no special rules.

Here are some examples of nouns and their irregular plural nouns:

  • goose/geese
  • mouse/mice
  • man/men
  • tooth/teeth
  • wolf/wolves
  • scissors
  • sheep
  • leaf/leaves
  • foot/feet
  • child/children
  • person/people
  • knife/knives

Next students will learn about pronouns which are words that take the place of nouns. It’s important to teach students that using pronouns in their writing will help them not sound so repetitive. Students will learn about singular and plural pronouns.

Adjectives and Verbs

Now that students have learned about nouns and plural nouns, they are ready to learn about adjectives, which modify nouns.

Adjectives tell more about a noun. How many, what size, what shape, how something feels or behaves, how something tastes, smells, or what something looks like are some of the ways an adjective tells us more about then noun.

Verbs are action words that tell what is happening. Do you remember the commercial from a long time ago? VERB: IT’S WHAT YOU DO!

Learning a variety of verbs can help students become better writers.


Adverbs are words that describe a verb or an adjective. They sometimes end in -ly, but don’t have to.

The poster below shows different types of adverbs and how they are used in sentences.

Unit 4: Dialogue, Possessives, Abstract Nouns

Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns are nouns that you cannot physically see, smell, taste, here, or touch. These types of nouns include ideas and feelings.

Some examples of abstract nouns are:

  • courage
  • loneliness
  • sadness
  • anger
  • kindness
  • manners
  • hope
  • beauty
  • honesty
  • memory
  • intelligence


Possessives seem to even give adults some trouble don’t they? Possessives are how we show ownership and they include an apostrophe.

  • singular noun, add ‘S (boy’s bike)
  • plural noun, add ‘ (students’ teacher)
  • irregular plural noun add ‘s (children’s seat)
  • names that end in S, either way is considered correct (James’ airplane, James’s airplane)


Adding dialogue to writing can help students become better story tellers! It’s important to teach them the rules of using dialogue. Having this poster in their grammar notebook is a great reference tool.

Unit 5: Comparative and Superlatives, Verb Tenses, Regular and Irregular Verbs, Subject-Verb Agreement, Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Comparative and Superlatives

Students will learn that comparatives compare only two things, while superlatives compare three or more things.

Here are some examples of comparatives and superlatives:

  • one syllable: long: longer, longest
  • 2 syllables, ends in y: happy: happier, happiest
  • 2 syllables, does not end in y: helpful: more helpful, most helpful
  • 3 or more syllables: comfortable: more comfortable, most comfortable

There are of course irregular comparatives and superlatives. (What would the English language be without exceptions to the rules?)

  • good/better/best
  • little/less/least
  • much or many/more/most
  • bad/worse/worst
  • far (distance)/farther/farthest
  • far (extent)/further/furthest

Verb Tenses

Students will learn to use different tenses of a verb depending on WHEN the action took place (past, present, or future).

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Students will learn to change the tense of regular and irregular verbs.

Subject-Verb and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

The subject of a sentence is who or what the sentence is about. The verb is the action in the sentence. The subject and verb tense must agree with each other.

Students will learn that the verb changes if the subject is singular or plural:

  • My friend hikes in the woods.
  • My friends hike in the woods.

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns and the antecedent tells us who or what the pronoun is referring to. They must agree with each other.

A singular antecedent must have a singular pronoun:

  • Miracle read her book. (Miracle: singular, her: singular)

A plural antecedent must have a plural pronoun:

  • The kids read their book. (Kids: plural, their: plural)

Unit 6: Literal and Nonliteral Language, Shades of Meaning, and Conjunctions

Literal and Nonliteral Language

Nonliteral language is one of my favorite topics to teach. (GET FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE LESSON IDEAS HERE!)

Students will learn that literal language means exactly what is said and nonliteral language (also known as figurative language) uses words and expressions that aren’t meant to be taken literally.

Types of nonliteral language:

  • hyperbole
  • idioms
  • similes
  • metaphors
  • personification
  • onomatopoeia

Shades of Meaning

Shades of meaning is all about using precise word choice when writing. Students will learn that there can be small differences in the meanings of similar words.

Examples of shades of meaning words:

  • cool, cold, freezing
  • sprinkling, pouring, storming


Conjunction-junction, what’s your function? I love that School House Rock song from back in the day!

Conjunctions are words that are used to connect or join words, sentences, phrases, or clauses together.

Unit 7: Word Choice, Simple Sentences, Compound Sentences, Complex Sentences

Word Choice

Students will learn to choose words that give an effect when they are used. As they learned with shades of meaning lessons, specific words can give a strong or weak effect. Using strong words helps the reader better understand what is happening and makes writing more interesting.

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences are sentences that have one complete thought. They have one subject and one verb. The flower bloomed. The little boy dropped his ice cream cone.

This is where you teach students what a “complete” sentence is. Does it have a subject and a verb?

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences have two complete thoughts. They contain two independent clauses that are joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (as taught in the previous unit).

Josh had fun at the party, but it wasn’t fun to clean up the mess the next day.

Independent clause 1: Josh had fun at the party,
Coordinating conjunction: but
Independent clause 2: it wasn’t fun to clean up the mess the next day.

Complex Sentences

As shown in the poster above, complex sentences contain one independent clause and one dependent clause (which tells more about the independent clause). The subordinating conjunctions does not have to go in the middle but it must stay with the dependent clause.

Complex sentences example:

  • The boy cried because he dropped his ice cream cone.
  • Because he dropped his ice cream cone, the boy cried.

Unit 8: Spatial and Temporal Words and Phrases

Spatial and Temporal Relationships

Spatial words and phrases signal location and tell where an object is located in space. Temporal words and phrases signal time and tell when something happened.

Get these 3rd Grade Grammar units today!

You can get all eight of the units shown above, plus the end-of-year review unit, when you purchase the 3rd Grade Grammar bundle.

3rd grade grammar curriculum bundle cover

It includes everything you need to teach grammar in just a few minutes each day!

The interactive PowerPoint lessons mean you don’t even have to prepare your whole group lesson! The half-sheet worksheets make great homework, and the puzzles, interactive notebooks, and other centers will help your students practice grammar all year!

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