Learn English Adjectives
Adjectives describe the qualities and quantities of nouns.
In English, adjectives generally come immediately before the noun:
The big dog barked.
This London newspaper is free.
My new apartment is great!
However the verb may separate the adjective and noun
His family are kind.
If there is more than one adjective, they are separated by commas
The tall, beautiful, evergreen tree.
TYPES OF ADJECTIVES
There are a number of different types of adjectives:
order of adjectives
Descriptive adjectives are the most common form of adjective and are probably what most people think of when they think of adjective.
They include colours, shapes, sizes, states for example – beautiful, clean, fat, occupied, angry, large
They have a beautiful garden.
The fat cat sat on the mat.
These describe possession, and who the noun being described belongs to.
my – belonging to me
your – belonging to you
his – belonging to him
her – belonging to her
its – belonging to it
our – belonging to us
their – belonging to them
His car is similar to mine.
Where is their house?
These describe the quantity of a noun.
They express, ‘how much’ or ‘how many’ of something there is.
Quantitative adjectives include numbers as well as broader quantity identifiers such as:
a lot, a few, many, half of, whole, most etc.
She has three children.
The whole school got sick.
These adjectives identify which noun is being referred to:
this – used with a singular noun that is near by
that – used with a singular noun further away
these – used with a plural noun that is near by
those – used with a plural noun further way
I bought this table when I was a student.
He borrowed those books from the library.
Notice that these have the same forms as demonstrative pronouns.
The difference is in their use:
demonstrative adjectives – modify the noun and come before the noun
demonstrative pronouns – replace the noun
The interrogative adjectives are used to ask a question.
which – used to offer a choice
what – used broadly to ask information about the noun
whose – used to ask the ownership or belonging of the noun
wh- word are question words, but in order to fulfil the role of an adjective, they must come immediately before he noun.
Which restaurant do you want to go to?
What car do you drive?
Whose coat is this?
The definite article ‘the’ and indefinite articles ‘a/an’ are also adjectives, although many may not think of them as such.
The chicken ran across the yard.
A tree fell across the path.
An umbrella broke in the strong wind.
These are adjectives that owe their origin to proper nouns – a person or place typically. They are written with a capital letter.
My favourite food is Cheddar cheese. (originates from Cheddar area in south England)
Cameras were invented in the Victorian era. (the period of Queen Victoria’s reign)
COMPARATIVE AND SUPERLATIVE ADJECTIVES
Adjectives can be used to compare nouns through comparative and superlative forms. These are called adjectives of degree, because they describe degrees of difference.
Comparatives are made by either:
adding –er to the end of the adjective
using more/less before the adjective
Superlatives are made by either:
adding-est to the end of the adjective
using the most/the least before the adjective
The big dog barked loudly.
The bigger dog barked louder.
The biggest dog didn’t bark.
*usually more and most is used, although sometimes +er and +est is used
Some adjectives have irregular forms for the comparative and superlative:
Order of Adjectives
When there is more than one adjective describing a noun, the order of the adjectives has guidelines:
1. determiner – the, my, our
2. number – three, 25, first
3. opinion – bad, interesting, clever
4. size – small, large, huge
5. age – young, 16-year-old, new
6. shape – round, spherical, rectangular
7. colour – yellow, greenish-blue
8. origin – Turkish, Welsh, French
9. material – silver, plastic, glass
10. purpose/qualifier – often forms part of the noun: racing horse
Her crazy, elder sister.
Our twelve, fast, white, Arabian racing horses.
My three, stylish, large, 200 year old, rectangular, brown, German, wooden writing desks.
1. Rearrange the words to form a sentence
have garden they beautiful a
long has straight she hair
tall I in the block work new
sick got whole sick the school
silk love gown comfortable I red my dressing old Chinese
2. Make the comparative and superlatives of these adjectives
1. They have a beautiful garden. She has long, straight hair. I work in the new, tall block. The whole school got sick. I love my comfortable, old, red, Chinese, silk, dressing gown.
2. colder coldest, later latest, more beautiful most beautiful, shorter shortest, more interesting most interesting