adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun. Sometimes
adjectives precede the noun they modify. Sometimes they follow a
linking verb. For instance:
The red book was on the
table. (Precedes its noun.)
The book on the table was red.
(Follows the linking verbwas.)
In the following sentences the adjectives modify the noun in the
sense they describes it, or say what it looks like, feels like, sounds
The balloon is green.
The adjective green tells us what the balloon looks like.
The cloth felt rough.
The adjective rough tells us what the cloth felt like.
The whining noise stopped.
The adjective whining tells us what the noise sounded like.
The following adjectives modify the nouns, but they do not tell us how
they appear to the senses.
The best computer
cannot tell the computer is the best by using our senses directly. We
need to compare this computer with the others and make our own judgement
or rely on what we have been told. The adjective best modified the
by telling us it is the one that comes out top on some evaluation of
all the computers considered. In future we might recognize it by its
shape or colour, but the adjective best allows us to distinguish this
computer from the others based on an evaluation.
This is my friend
adjective my does not describe friend by saying what the person looks
like, etc. You know that person is my friend because I said so, or for
some other reason.
The last chocolate
The adjective last
does not tell us what the chocolate looks like or tastes like. The
chocolate looks like all the others. We
deduce it is the last one, because it is the only one remaining in the
modify a noun and tell us what it is like, but not necessarily how it
appears to the senses. Here 'descriptive' is used in the widest sense
of the word.
The following descriptive adjectives describe the noun:
The flowery dress. The long train. The hairy pig. The smelly dog. The noteworthy example.
garden. The rough
surface. The insipid
drink. The crazy
They tell us what the noun, or thing, looks like, sounds like, tastes
like, feels like or smells like.
These adjectives might look a bit like adverbs!
The moor is lonely. It feels tacky. The bush is prickly.
The following are also descriptive adjectives:
The last dance. The new computer. The top man. The late
describe the noun, but they do not tell us what it looks like, smells
like or sounds like.
These are derived from proper names. For instance:
These show ownership:
my car, your cat, our house, their ideas
traditional grammar, these are considered adjectives; nowadays, they
are usually considered pronouns or determiners. They define the nouns,
but do not
describe them (Or describe them in the widest sense of describe,
whatever that means). Because they do this, we can think of them as
adjectives. Also they
stand for a noun. The word my
stands for mine (of me). So my
is also a pronoun.
The ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc., are usually adjectives:
The first one. The second train. The third man.
Also, the adjectives of quality: few, many, several are adjectives.
These point something out:
this book that pencil, these boxes, those cats,
possessive adjectives, nowadays, these are considered pronouns. In
traditional grammar, they are demonstrative adjectives. But when used
He gave me this. That is the pencil
he gave me. These
are her cats.
current grammar, like traditional grammar, calls them pronouns.
Having faith is what matters most.
This is the dog whose
collar we found.
The following are examples of interrogative adjectives:
contains the medicine? What
shape is the new building?
And these are exclamatory adjectives:
What foolishness! What big eyes you
The words in bold are indefinite adjectives:
any person, each difficulty, another twinge
Some adjectives can be compared:
Comparing 2 things
Comparing More Than 2 Things
the most important
Some adjectives cannot be compared. They are in the absolute degree.
Here are some of them:
For instance, is someone or something is dead, they cannot
or the deadest!
Such words cannot be compared because it is illogical to do so. paramount means of
rank or importance. If it is the highest, nothing can be higher. So we
cannot say something is more
paramount (more higher!). Similarly, it doesn't make sense to say
something is more unique.
means "the only one of its kind", something cannot be more unique (If
something is rarer than something else, then the first thing isn't
unique, but rare).
is not the real world that determines whether an adjective is absolute
or not, it is our knowledge of language. For instance, engineers might
make a rod which is one metre long. Every known measure shows the
length is accurate. We can say it is a perfect metre. However, later,
scientists discover better ways of measuring things and, after all, the
perfect metre is not exactly one metre long. They make another rod
which is exactly one metre long according to every known measure. We do
not say the new metre is more perfect than the old one: we say the old
one wasn't really perfect.
and Predicative Use
adjective is placed before its noun, it is used attributively. When it
follows a linking verb, it is used predicatively.We can say:
The green bush (is over
The bush is green. [Predicative]
We can move some adjectives around, putting them before the noun or
after a linking verb, such as the verb to be.
I feel good. I am thirsty. It is late. They seem happy.
The following adjectives cannot be used predicatively:
It is sheer madness. The madness is sheer.
He is the only
one. The one is only.
It is the utter
truth. The truth is utter.
Mathematics is his main
interest is main.
The following cannot be used attributively:
He was ashamed. The ashamed
The ship was afloat. The afloat