Parts of Speech
Adjectives

Adjective

An adjective is a word that modifies (or describes) a noun or a pronoun.
Adjectives answer these questions: Which? How many? What kind of? How much?

This is a beautiful day.

Beautiful is an adjective that describes the noun day. It answers the question "What kind of day?"

Betty wore a gorgeous dress to the dance.

The adjective gorgeous describes the noun dress.

Comparison of adjectives

Most adjectives have three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, and superlative.

Use the positive degree when you are referring to one person or thing.

 Joan is a pretty girl.

Use the comparative degree when you are comparing two people or things.

 Joan is prettier than Betty.

Use the superlative degree when you are comparing more than two people or things.

 Joan was the prettiest girl at the party.

Usually, the degrees are formed by adding –er and –est to the positive degree to form the comparative and the superlative degrees, respectively.

PositiveComparativeSuperlative
pretty prettier prettiest
tall taller tallest

Other adjectives use more for the comparative degree and most for the superlative degree.

PositiveComparativeSuperlative
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
wonderful more wonderful most wonderful

If you are making a comparison in a negative way, you will use less and least.

PositiveComparativeSuperlative
beautiful less beautiful least beautiful
remarkable less remarkable least remarkable

No comparison

Some adjectives, such as unique, perfect, and pregnant, cannot be compared.

 This problem is more unique.
 This problem is unique.

Because the problem is unique, it cannot be compared to any other problem.
Likewise, if something is perfect, it cannot be improved.

Avoid double comparisons.

 Susan is the most prettiest girl in the class
 Susan is the prettiest girl in the class.

The use of other

Sometimes you have to use other in the sentence to make a correct comparison.

 Simon is taller than any boy in his class.
 Simon is taller than any other boy in his class.

Unless you use the word other in the above sentence, you are saying that Simon is taller than he himself, because he is a boy and he is in the class.

However, note that you do not need to use other in the sentence below, because Simon is not a girl.

 Simon is taller than any girl in his class.

Exceptional verbs

Some verbs need an adjective, not an adverb, after them because they are linking verbs, not action verbs.

These linking verbs are listed in the table below.

appear become feel look
seem smell sound taste

 The church bell sounded harshly on Sunday morning.
 The church bell sounded harsh on Sunday morning.

 The student felt badly because he didn't study for the test.
 The student felt bad because he didn't study for the test.

Demonstrative adjective

The demonstrative adjectives are shown in the table below.

SingularPlural
this these
that those

This refers to something near, while that refers to something farther away.

Betty wore that dress to the dance.

That dress answers the question "Which dress?" Therefore, that is a demonstrative adjective.

This day is beautiful.

Because this describes the noun day, then this is a demonstrative adjective.

Use a singular demonstrative adjective to modify a singular noun, and a plural demonstrative adjective to modify a plural noun.

 The child prefers this kinds of candy.
 The child prefers these kinds of candy.
 The child prefers this kind of candy.

Note: This, that, these, and those are demonstrative adjectives only if they modify a noun. If they are used alone, they are demonstrative pronouns.

This is a beautiful day.

In this sentence this is a demonstrative pronoun because it is used as the subject of the verb is.

Articles

Articles are the words a, an, and the.

Practice

Instructions: Identify the 20 adjectives in the following sentences. Do not include articles or demonstrative adjectives.

  1. It was a long, tiresome day for the weary travellers by the time the crowded bus finally arrived at the luxurious hotel.
  2. They were quickly ushered into the spacious lobby to get individual keys and collect the battered luggage.
  3. For many of them, it was the first time that they had a hot bath in several days.
  4. As they checked out the comfortable beds and the flat-screen televisions, they realized the long ordeal had finally ended.
  5. For the next few days they could relax by the kidney-shaped pool or in the steaming sauna as the friendly, attentive staff catered to them.

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