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.

Three Questions

Adjectives usually answer three questions about the nouns they describe: What kind of? How many? Which one(s)?

  • I found a red rose in the cave.
    - What kind of rose? Red
  • Three tickets, please.
    - How many tickets? Three
  • I would eat these muffins.
    - Which muffins? These.


Spelling Test on Common Adjectives

Pronoun or Adjective - Identify the function of the word in the sentence. Demonstrative Adjectives vs Demonstrative Pronouns, Interrogative Adjectives vs Interrogative Pronouns, Indefinite Adjectives vs Indefinite Pronouns.

List of Common English Adjectives

Types of Adjectives

Common Adjectives

Common adjective is just a simple, regular adjective. It describes a noun in a general way.

Examples: sharp, flexible, hot, red, hidden, dripping, nice, huge.

Proper Adjectives

Proper adjective is derived from a proper noun and is capitalized. Sometimes, as in two last rows, a proper noun does not change at all to become a proper adjective.

Proper NounProper Adjective

Demonstrative Adjectives

This, that, these, those are called demonstrative adjectives. They point out nouns.

They always answer the question Which one?

  • 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, but take the place of nouns. In the following example, this and that act as demonstrative pronouns.

  • Lets play this and later watch that.

Interrogative Adjectives

Which, what, and whose are called interrogative adjectives. They point out nouns and are used to ask questions.

  • Which classes did you take?
  • Whose phone did you use?

Remember that which, what, and whose can also act as interrogative pronouns in which case they are not followed by nouns, but take the place of nouns. In the following example, Which and Whose act as interrogative pronouns.

  • Which did you like?
  • Whose did you break?

Indefinite Adjectives

An indefinite adjective describes a noun in a non-specific sense, often with an element of uncertainty.

Common indefinite adjectives are any, some, few, many, several, each

  • Is there any tea?
  • I need a few minutes.

Remember that indefinite adjectives can also act as indefinite pronouns in which case they are not followed by nouns, but take the place of nouns. In the following example, any and few act as indefinite pronouns.

  • No, there isn't any.
  • I have a few.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives (also called Possessive Determiners) always modify/describe a noun. You might recognize them easily, since they are "related" to personal pronouns.

List of possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, their.

  • His book is excellent.
  • Their house is new.

For explanation and examples see Possessive Adjectives. It also shows how possessive adjectives are classified by gender, person and number.

Pronouns vs Adjectives

Remember that pronouns are used alone and adjectives have nouns following them. Review Pronouns vs Adjectives section and if you feel ready - take the quiz below.

Practice. Pronoun or Adjective - Identify the function of the word in the sentence. Demonstrative, Interrogative, and Indefinite pronouns acting as adjectives.

Position of Adjectives

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 big.
  • The sea seems dark.

Comparison of Adjectives

Adjectives have three forms of comparison: positive, comparative, and superlative.
  • Positive degree expresses the quality without comparison.
  • Comparative degree compares two things or persons.
  • Superlative degree compares three or more things or persons.
horriblemore horriblemost horrible

Adjective Comparison

1. Add er and est to short adjectives of one syllable (sometimes two syllables)


2. If a short adjective ends with consonant and y, change the y to i and add er and est.


3. If a short adjective ends with e, add r and st.


4. Put more(less) and most(least) in front of longer adjectives (with two or more syllables) to show comparison.

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.

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

Irregular Adjectives

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
well (healthy)betterbest

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