English Grammar: Adjective

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Definition:

Adjectives are one of the major parts of speech in English. They modify a noun or noun phrase. Often called describing words, they describe the quality, state or action that a noun refers to. They can be used to distinguish a particular noun- the red car distinguishes one car by colour from the others. Adjectives are an open class in English, which means that we can make new ones easily and add them to the language, which is not the case in all languages.

Adjectives are not generally used in standard English to modify other adjectives- we use adverbs to do that. However, we can use multiple adjectives to modify a noun. When we do this they tend to follow a sequence, though this order of adjectives is not an absolute rule and there will always be exceptions.

They can be used in various ways and positions in a sentence:

Adjective Rules:

  1. Adjectives can come before nouns: a new car
  2. Adjectives can come after verbs such as be, become, seem, look, etc.: that car looks fast
  3. They can be modified by adverbs: a very expensive car
  4. They can be used as complements to a noun: the extras make the car expensive

See Also:

Count Noun; Parts of Speech

Category:

Adjectives and Adverbs

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Related Language Quizzes

Test your understanding by taking our language quizzes related to adjectives and adverbs.

Level Quiz
Beginner Adjective or Adverb? (17)
Beginner Adjective or Adverb? (12)
Beginner Adjectives- positive & negative (13)
Beginner Adverbs with 2 Forms (10)
Beginner Adverbs- Position in sentence (15)
Beginner All & Every (10)
Beginner Already or Yet (11)
Beginner Early & Soon (10)
Beginner Enough (13)
Beginner Enough & Too (11)
Beginner Enough & Too 2 (11)
Beginner Enough- 2 (34)
Beginner Ever & Never (10)
Beginner Few & Little (10)
Beginner Few or Little- 2 (14)
Beginner Good & Well (10)
Beginner Many or Many of (13)
Beginner Much or Many (10)
Beginner Order of Adjectives (14)
Beginner Too & Enough (29)
Beginner Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (11)
Intermediate Adjective + Preposition (10)
Intermediate Adjective or Present Participle? (10)
Intermediate Adjectives and Adverbs with the same form (14)
Intermediate Adjectives ending -ful and -less (20)
Intermediate Adjectives ending -ible and -able (20)
Intermediate Adjectives ending -ic & -ical (14)
Intermediate Adjectives- Order (12)
Intermediate Adjectives- Order 2 (21)
Intermediate Adverbs of degree (10)
Intermediate Adverbs with two forms (18)
Intermediate Adverbs with two forms (10)
Intermediate Adverbs- Position (14)
Intermediate All & Whole (10)
Intermediate Already or Yet (11)
Intermediate Even (10)
Intermediate Further & Farther (10)
Intermediate Interesting & Interested, etc (10)
Intermediate So & Such (43)
Intermediate So and Such (14)
Intermediate So, Too & Very (12)
Intermediate Such & Such a (10)
Advanced Grammar Check- Adjectives (10)
Advanced Just (16)
Advanced Rather (10)
All Levels Adjective or Adverb? (50)