What is an Adjective?

An adjective is a word used to modify or describe a noun or pronoun. An adjective usually answers one of these questions: “Which one?”, “What kind?”, and “How many?”. Adjectives usually precede the words they modify, although they sometimes follow linking verbs, in which case they will describe the subject. Most adjectives have three forms: the positive, the comparative, and the superlative. The comparative should be used to compare two things, the superlative to compare three or more things.

What is an adjective? Through this session I want to find the answer to this question. Now I know you’re probably familiar with the term adjective but I want to look more specifically at what an adjective is and how it can be used. So let’s take a look at this first example. I like that green car. Now, the general definition of an adjective is a word that describes or modifies another word in the sentence. In order to identify the adjective in this we’re looking for a word that is describing another word. So if we look through this sentence we notice that a green car.is in this sentence and you can quickly realize that green is the adjective in this sentence. Why? Because green can’t stand alone in this sentence. Green must be modifying or describing car. It’s saying I like that car that is green. Green is describing what kind of car is there. Let’s go on to another example. My mom makes delicious food. Again, we’re looking for a word that is describing another word in the sentence. So if you were to read this sentence and stop right here you would read the sentence as my mom makes delicious. so we can quickly realize that delicious can’t stand alone in this sentence. So delicious must be describing something else. So we can just look at the next word in the sentence – good. My mom makes delicious food. So delicious is obviously describing what kind of food is here. Now, I said that delicious can’t stand alone here and I was right. I mean if food is gone it says that mom makes delicious. That doesn’t make any sense. Now, that is not always the case with adjectives. In this sentence if I said I like that green and we left car out and the sentence just said I like that green it still makes sense because the reader, or the speaker or the writer of this word could simply be talking about they like a certain shade of green. But a lot of times you can find an adjective because it can’t stand alone in the sentence. Let’s take a look at this next example. How much income tax do you have to pay? Now this adjective is not as easy to find than the other adjectives that we’ve been looking at. So let’s look closely at this sentence. We continuing with this sentence just one word at a time. How much income tax. Now if you stop right here you realize that income is describing tax. A lot of times an adjective answers a question like who, what, how or when. So in other words we’re saying what kind of tax is here. It’s income tax. What kind of food is here? It’s delicious food. What kind of car is it? A green car. So a lot of times if you look a certain noun in a sentence and you ask what kind is itor ask some kind of question similar to that you can find the adjective because the adjective is answering a question about another word in the sentence because it’s further describing that other word. So if we look at tax right here. Income is the adjective further describing tax because this could be a sales tax or gift tax but in this case it’s income tax. So income is the adjective. Let’s take a look at another example. They are here for an annual meeting. So, quick side note. There are words called articles. An example of articles a, an and the. So those three words are articles. Articles are also adjectives. So anytime you see the words a, an or the, they are called articles and they are adjectives. So if we look at this sentence – They are here for an annual meeting. So, boom, right here we see an which is an article so it must be adjective. So what is an describing? It’s describing annual? No. It’s describing meeting. Because we could take annual out and the sentence would say they are here for a meeting. So an must be describing meeting. Well annual is also describing meeting because how often does this meeting occur? What kind of meeting is it? It’s an annual meeting. So an and annual are both adjectives describing meeting. That leads me to another point. You can have more than one adjective in a sentence and you can have more than one adjective next to each other. Like, look at that tall , blue-eyed man. Tall and blue-eyed are both adjectives and they’re both describing man and they can be right next to each other. Sometimes you need to put a comma in between those two adjectives. But the main point I want you to get there is that two adjectives can be right next to each other describing the same word. Alright, let’s look at another example – our last example. That is the right choice. So this one’s a little bit harder than the other ones but if you look at choice right here – okay, what word is describing choice? Right is describing choice because this isn’t talking about right or left. This is talking about correct or incorrect. So the author is saying that is the correct choice. One last note about adjectives. Adjectives aren’t always vital to a sentence. You can remove them and the sentence still makes sense. So if we take income out of this sentence you can read the sentence as how much tax do you have to pay? That sentence still makes sense without the adjective. They are here for a meeting. So a lot of times you need articles in a sentence to still make sense. So if we leave an in the sentence but take annual out it still makes sense. They are here for a meeting. In this sentence if you were to remove right the sentence wouldn’t make quite a much sense. By itself that sentence makes sense but you don’t understand anymore that that’s a correct choice so I hope you get my point from that adjectives are important to a sentence because they give us a further description of another word in a sentence. But many times you can remove that adjective from the sentence and the sentence will still make sense.


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Last updated: 12/15/2017
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