All About Adjectives
All About Adjectives (With Adjective Examples)
Making sense of the various aspects of speech that come together to form sentences is not easy. There are many rules to be followed and various moving parts used to ensure proper grammar.
Today we'll talk about one of the most common, and often overused, parts of a sentence: adjectives.
Adjectives are the words we use to describe or modify nouns and pronouns in a sentence. They are often placed before the noun or noun phrase that they modify, though they sometimes come after the noun in a sentence. One instance in which they should always be placed after the noun is when they are being used to modify an indefinite pronoun.
As it is with other aspects of a sentence, adjectives can be hard to understand on their own. After all, they work harmoniously with other linguistic fragments to create sentences.
Read on as we discuss all there is to know about adjectives, as well as provide examples of how they are typically used.
What are Some Adjective Examples You Commonly See in Text?
To better illustrate what an adjective is, we'll give a few simple examples. The adjective will be in italics in each example.
Adjectives placed before the noun:
Adjectives placed after the noun:
The woman was old
His boots are red
This summer is hot
The child looks happy
In the first set of examples, placement before the noun makes these adjectives attributive adjectives. In the second set of examples, these are predicative adjectives and follow linking verbs.
A List of Adjectives to Get You Started on Your Next Writing Project
You may be writing an assignment for class or you may be writing for fun. Either way, you will undoubtedly need adjectives to bring your words to life.
Use these handy tables to identify common adjectives by category and add them to your next paper:
*NOTE: other question words, like “how” and “who,” are not adjectives since they do not modify a noun.
These are only a handful of common adjectives per category. So, as you can see, there are literally thousands of possible adjectives we can use in our writing.
What are the Three Main Types of Adjectives?
It’s not enough to only know common adjectives, however. Grammar is never that easy! We also have to know the three main types of adjectives and the substance that they add to sentences.
There are three types of adjectives: positive, comparative, and superlative. Understanding the difference between the three helps us understand how adjectives are used to describe a degree of modification.
Here are examples of all three adjective types:
Positive adjective: This singer is loud
Comparative adjective: That singer is louder
Superlative adjective: The singer now on stage is loudest
Positive adjectives are the ones we use most commonly and are not used for comparative purposes. They are regular adjectives used to describe or modify nouns.
Comparative adjectives, on the other hand, are used to describe the contrast between two nouns.
Superlative adjectives compare three or more nouns.
Adjectives vs Adverbs - What Makes Them Different?
You may be wondering: what’s the difference between an adjective and an adverb? It's easy to confuse adjectives and adverbs. After all, they're both used to describe parts of a sentence.
While an adjective describes a noun or pronoun, adverbs describe verbs, or any other part of a sentence that is not a noun or pronoun.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. Here's a sentence with an adjective:
The cat's hiss is loud
And here is the same sentence, but with an adverb instead of an adjective:
The cat hisses loudly
You can easily recognize an adverb in a sentence as they often end in -ly.
And if you can remember that, simply put, adjectives describe nouns and adverbs describe verbs, you will never be steered wrong.
How Do Adjectives Make for Great Writing?
By now you probably have a pretty great grasp on what adjectives are and can easily pick them out in a sentence. But do you know how these nifty speech-components can best be wielded to create great writing?
There are several things to keep in mind about adjectives when you want to create outstanding written works.
Oftentimes, adjectives are overused in writing. So, be careful not to use an adjective in each sentence where possible, and definitely do not use more than one in strings of sentences.
For example, consider this sentence:
The sad girl played her violin in a fashion that was considered very loud.
A sentence like this is overbearing and can come across as immature to average readers. A word like "sad" also is not very descriptive. Because it is used so commonly, it does not have the power to grab a reader's attention.
Therefore, to use adjectives wisely, use them as deftly as possible.
Now, consider the sentence above with a mini adjective rewrite:
The dejected girl played her violin in a deafening fashion.
Though dejected is just another adjective that means sad, it has greater impact on the reader due to its lack of overuse. It also paints a more vivid image. You can picture a very sad girl when you read the word "dejected" since it is a precise way to describe someone who is sad and gloomy.
Same with "deafening." Because it is not used as often as “loud,” it allows the reader to understand that the violin music was in fact being played at a level that could almost quite literally deafen nearby listeners.
By remembering to use adjectives that are more precise to your purpose, and less common overall, you can make your writing much more interesting.
Lightly sprinkle a couple of choice adjectives into a sentence, or every other sentence, and you will have stronger, better-composed passages.