Grammar For Beginners: All About Adjectives


Over the next few months, I will be writing a Grammar For Beginners series. I am starting with parts of speech.

What Are Parts Of Speech?

Language is made up of different words with different functions. These words are are known as parts of speech.

“In the English language, words can be considered as the smallest elements that have distinctive meanings. Based on their use and functions, words are categorised into several types or parts of speech.” (From Parts of Speech)

These categories are:

  1. Nouns
  2. Adjectives
  3. Conjunctions
  4. Verbs
  5. Articles
  6. Adverbs
  7. Prepositions
  8. Pronouns

A part of speech is also sometimes known as a word class.

Today, I will discuss adjectives.

All About Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. There are two kinds of adjectives: attributive and predicative.

Attributive

The attributive stands next to a noun and describes it.  The usual place of the adjective is in front of the noun.

Example: The black cat climbed a tree.
Sometimes, for dramatic effect, the adjective can come after the noun.
Example: This is the jungle dark.

Predicative

The predicative is when a verb separates it from the noun or pronoun it describes.

Examples:

  1. The crowd was happy.
  2. The driver was furious.
  3. This bread tastes stale.

Types Of Adjectives

  1. qualitative: good, French
  2. possessive: my, your, their
  3. relative and interrogative: which, what, whatever
  4. numeral: one, two, second
  5. indefinite: some, any, much
  6. demonstrative: this, that, the

What Is An Adjectival Phrase?

‘An adjective phrase is a group of words that describe a noun or pronoun in a sentence. The adjective in an adjective phrase can appear at the start, end, or in the middle of the phrase. The adjective phrase can be placed before, or after, the noun or pronoun in the sentence.’ Source

Examples:

  1. We were so poor we became used to living on the streets.
  2. The trials for the games were unbelievably difficult.
  3. The overly enthusiastic students tried to impress the teacher.

The Correct Order for Multiple Adjectives

If you need to use a few adjectives in a row, they should be written or spoken in a specific order. Most English speaker do this naturally, but if English is your second language, this is the order to use:

  1. Opinion: amazing, charming
  2. Size: tiny, huge
  3. Age: youthful, elderly
  4. Shape: oval, square
  5. Colour: red, gold
  6. Origin: French, Japanese
  7. Material: linen, glass
  8. Purpose: dressing, as in a dressing room; sewing, as in a sewing machine

Top Tip: Do not use too many adjectives in your writing. Choose nouns that do most of the work for you.

Look out for next week’s post on verbs.

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  by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Grammar For Beginners: All About Nouns
  2. The Passive Voice Explained
  3. Three Nagging Grammar Questions Answered
  4. 30 Examples To Help You Master Concord
  5. Hyphens And Dashes