The following are the subsections in this lesson:

 

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns (people, places, things, or animals) or pronouns. They describe the noun by telling us its size, shape, age, colour, etc. Adjectives usually come before the noun or pronoun, or sometimes they can come after it. Other parts of speech such as articles (the, a, an) are sometimes classified as adjectives.

As modifiers of nouns, adjectives give us some information about the nouns such as size, shape, age, colour, where the nouns come from, what material they are made of and for what purpose they are used for. The following example sentences show the adjectives in bold.

Examples:

  • It is a rotten egg. (Observation)
  • It is a beautiful painting of dinosaurs. (Opinion)
  • It is a big cat from Africa. (Size)
  • It is a rectangular field. (Shape)
  • It is an ancient castle. (Age)
  • It is a black bull. (Colour)
  • It is an Indian elephant. (Origin)
  • It is a cotton dress. (Material)
  • It is a school bus. (Purpose)

 

There are different kinds of adjectives which include the following:

  • Demonstrative adjectives are this, that, these, and those. We use them to point out specific people or things.
  • Descriptive adjectives are the most common adjectives. We use them to describe nouns.
  • Interrogative adjectives are words such as what, which, and whose that modify nouns. We use an interrogative adjective with a noun to ask a question.
  • Indefinite adjectives are words like all, any, each, few, many, much, most, several, and some that describe nouns in a general or non-specific manner.
  • Possessive adjectives modify nouns or noun phrases and are words such as my, your, his, her, its, our, and their which we use before nouns to show possession. 
 
Identifying adjectives in a sentence
As the adjective comes immediately before a noun, its position in a sentence is usually between the following:
  • an article (a, an, the) and a noun: a sandy beach, an old church, the vast ocean
  • a demonstrative (this, that, these, those) and a noun: this new book, that wild horse
  • an amount (all, few, most, several, some, most) and a noun: few unpaid volunteers, several bad mistakes 

 

Adjectives as complements

Adjectives can act as complements although not all complements are adjectives. Complements tell us what the subject is, and they come after the subject. If the complement is only one word, it is very likely to be an adjective.

 

Examples:

  • He is tall, dark and handsome

    (The word and is not an adjective but it is part of the complement.)

  • You are beautiful.
  • The sky was cloudless.
  • The elephants have been trained