The following are the subsections in this lesson:
An adjective is a word (such as bitter, dark, sharp, tall, etc.) that describes or modifies a noun (person, place, thing, or animal) or pronoun in a sentence. As a modifier of a noun, an adjective gives information about the noun such as its size (big), age (old), shape (oval), colour (blue), where the noun comes from (Italian), what material (stone, plastic) it is made of and for what purpose it is used for (cutting tool).
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 come after the subject and tell us what the subject is. If the complement is only one word, it tends to be an adjective. An adjective complement can be a noun clause or a prepositional phrase that adds to the adjective or modifies it. This means the adjective complement always follows the adjective it complements.
The following examples show the complements in bold.
Adjectives ending in –ly
Not all words ending in –ly are adverbs; some of them are adjectives. Adjectives that end in –ly include brotherly, comely, costly, cowardly, early, elderly, friendly, lively, lonely, lovely, manly, motherly, sickly, silly, surly, timely and ugly. For a list of adjectives ending in –ly, see Adjectives ending in –ly.