What is an adjective?
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun. In general, the purpose of an adjective is to describe a noun or pronoun and provide more information about it. Adjectives provide answers to questions such as “What kind?” “Which one?” and “Whose is it?”
To demonstrate how adjectives work, let’s look at two example sentences. The first sentence has no adjectives, and the second sentence has two adjectives.
- Leslie bought shoes at the store.
- Leslie bought new shoes at the busy store.
Both of these sentences are perfectly fine. However, the second sentence gives more information than the first one does. The second sentence tells us the shoes that Leslie bought haven’t been used before and that the store that she went to had a lot of customers in it.
There are two ways that adjectives are used in sentences and clauses:
1. The adjective is right next to the noun/pronoun that it modifies. Most of the time, adjectives come before the nouns/pronouns they modify, but they can sometimes come after them:
- The blue birds built a nest. (The adjective blue modifies the noun birds.)
- I was looking for someone else. (The adjective else modifies the pronoun someone.)
- The house is old. (The adjective old follows the linking verb is. Old modifies the noun house as the subject complement of the sentence.)
In either case, it is possible to use multiple adjectives to modify the same noun or pronoun:
- It was a dark and stormy night.
- My big, goofy dog is named Buddy.
- The mirror was crooked, cracked, and dirty.
When multiple adjectives are used before a noun/pronoun, they typically follow a specific adjective order.
List of adjectives
There are tons and tons of adjectives. The following list gives a tiny sample of the many, many adjectives that exist:
Examples of adjectives in a sentence
The following sentences give examples of how we use adjectives:
- Gavin is a smart guy.
- The big basket is full of red apples.
- The cocky rabbit lost the race to the careful tortoise.
- The old clock was broken.
- The masked villain’s plot was stopped by the brave, groovy teenagers and their goofy, cowardly dog.