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English Adjectives



What is an Adjective?

An adjective is a word that tells us more about a noun or a pronoun. An adjective describes or modifies a noun.

Adjective Links
What is an adjective? from HyperGrammar
Adjective from wikipedia

Adjectives quizzes and lists:
List of adjectives
Spelling of adjectives

Adjective lists that follow each topic are only partial ones.
Three Questions

Adjectives usually answer three questions about the nouns they describe:

1. What kind of?
I found a red rose in the cave.
What kind of rose? Red

2. How many?
Three tickets, please.
How many tickets? Three.

3. Which one(s)?
I would eat these muffins.
Which muffins? These.

Kinds of adjectives

1. Demonstrative adjective
this, that, these, those are called demonstrative adjectives. They point out nouns.
They always answer the question which one?
In the following example, demonstrative adjectives are shown in color.
Lets play this game and later watch that movie.

Remember that this, that, these, those can also act as demonstrative pronouns in which case they are not followed by nouns (as demonstrative adjectives are), but take the place of nouns.
In the following example, demonstrative pronouns are shown in color.
Lets play this and later watch that.

2. Common adjective is just a simple, regular adjective. It describes a noun in a general way.
sharp, flexible, hot, red, hidden, dripping, nice, huge.

3. Proper adjective is derived from a proper noun and is capitalized.
Proper nounProper adjective
ChinaChinese
CaliforniaCalifornian
MarsMartian
SpainSpanish
ChristianityChristian
JapanJapanese
HollywoodHollywood
TexasTexas
Sometimes, as in last two examples, a proper noun does not change at all to become a proper adjective.

Where an adjective goes in a sentence

Usually an adjective comes in front of the noun it is describing.
The big balloon floated over the dark sea.

An adjective can also come after a linking verb, like to be, and describe the subject of the sentence. In this case it is called predicate adjective.
The balloon was dark.

Comparison of adjectives

Positive degree – the simplest form.
Comparative degree – comparing two things or persons.
Superlative degree – comparing three or more things or persons.

PositiveComparativeSuperlative
largelargerlargest
horriblemore horriblemost horrible

How to compare adjectives
1. Add er and est to short adjectives of one syllable (sometimes two syllables)
PositiveComparativeSuperlative
shortshortershortest
greatgreatergreatest
smallsmallersmallest
oldolderoldest

2. If a short adjective ends with consonant and y, change the y to i and add er and est.
PositiveComparativeSuperlative
luckyluckierluckiest
heavyheavierheaviest
happyhappierhappiest
sillysilliersilliest
uglyuglierugliest

3. If a short adjective ends with e, add er and st.
PositiveComparativeSuperlative
littlelittlerlittlest
finefinerfinest

4. Put more(less) and most(least) in front of longer adjectives (with two or more syllables) to show comparison.
PositiveComparativeSuperlative
appealingless appealingleast appealing
remarkablemore remarkablemost remarkable
beautifulmore beautifulmost beautiful
alertmore alertmost alert

If you are uncertain whether to add er and est or to use more and most, then check dictionary. In most cases, you can trust your ears.

Some adjectives are irregular adjectives and don't follow thee rules. They change form considerably from one degree to the next. You need to study these changes carefully in order to recognize them easily.

List of irregular adjectives.
PositiveComparativeSuperlative
badworseworst
farfurtherfurthest
farfartherfarthest
goodbetterbest
manymoremost
littlelessleast
oldeldereldest
well (healthy)betterbest

Never use er or est at the same time you use more or most. These are incorrect: more shorter, most alertest

Incomparable adjectives.
Some adjectives cannot be compared because the positive (simplest) form expresses the only degree possible.
List of incomparable adjectives: perfect, unique, fatal, universal, dead, wrong, straight, blind, final, vertical, right, left