What is an Adjective: Types, Uses and Examples

Academic Writing

22nd May 2024

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The English language is made up of various parts of speech, each essential to effective communication. Among these, adjectives play a crucial role. You’ve likely heard the term “adjective” before, but do you know what it truly means? If not, don’t worry. This blog is here to guide you through everything you need to know about adjectives. Read on to discover what an adjective is, as well as its different forms and types.

What is an Adjective?

An adjective is a descriptive word that provides more information about a noun or pronoun. It adds detail and colour to our language by describing qualities, characteristics, or attributes of the person or thing being referenced. Adjectives usually come before a noun or pronoun in a sentence or after link verbs.

An adjective can also be described as a word belonging to the major form classes in varying languages. These words typically serve as modifiers that denote the quality of a person or a thing or describe their quantity. However, the purpose of using adjectives is not limited to quantity and quality. It can be any word that describes a noun or pronoun.

Degrees of Adjectives

There are three degrees of adjectives:

Positive Degree of Comparison

The first degree of comparison of adjectives is the positive degree of comparison. In this comparison, an adjective is used in its original form. For example: This book is informative. In this, informative is an adjective, and it is used in its original form with no subject to be compared.

Comparative Degree of Comparison

The comparative form of the adjectives is used when there are two subjects in comparison. For example: The essay I wrote yesterday was better than the one I wrote today. Here, the comparative degree of comparison of adjectives is better than that of the comparative degree of comparison.

Superlative Degree of Comparison

The superlative degree of comparison is the next form of adjectives. It is used when two or more than two subjects are compared. For example: This book is the most interesting one that I have ever come across. Here, the most interesting is the superlative degree of comparison.

Types of Adjectives

Comparative Adjectives

These are comparative adjectives, which compare two subjects to each other. For instance: more expensive, smaller, less reasonable, and faster are examples of this type of adjective.

Superlative Adjectives

Next on the list of different types of adjectives are superlative adjectives. These adjectives compare two of more than two subjects to one another to indicate which is the most supreme among them. Least valuable, loudest, fastest, smartest and most impressive are some examples of superlative adjectives.

Predicate Adjectives

Predicate adjectives appear in a sentence’s predicate as a subject complement, providing additional information about the subject. Unlike attributive adjectives, which directly precede a noun or pronoun, predicate adjectives follow linking verbs such as to be, to become or to seem. For example, in the sentence The flowers are beautiful, beautiful is a predicate adjective describing the subject flowers.

Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives are the next type of adjectives. They are formed from multiple words. The multiple words in these adjectives get connected by hyphens. Some common examples of compound adjectives include cross-eyed and never-ending.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are used to show possession or ownership. Some common examples of possessive adjectives include her, its, his, whose, their, my, your and our.

Demonstrative Adjectives

Next on the list of different types of adjectives are the demonstrative adjectives. These adjectives are used to express the relative position of a noun or pronoun in time and space. This, that, those and these are the most common demonstrative adjectives.

Proper Adjectives

Adjectives forming from proper nouns are known as proper adjectives. These adjectives are used to say something related to a certain place or person, for example, Indian, African, and Shakespearian.

Participial Adjectives

Adjectives based on participles are known as the participial adjectives. These adjectives usually end with an -ed or -ing. These adjectives are derived from verbs. Some common examples of participial adjectives include fascinating, determined and computerised.

Limiting Adjectives

These adjectives restrict a noun or pronoun instead of describing its qualities or characteristics. Some common examples of limiting adjectives include your, these and some.

Descriptive Adjectives

Next on the list of types of adjectives are descriptive adjectives. These adjectives describe the traits, characteristics and qualities of a noun or pronoun. Some popular examples of descriptive adjectives include attractive, red and friendly.

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are the type of adjectives that ask questions. Whose, what and which are common examples of interrogative adjectives.

Attributive Adjectives

Attributive adjectives are used directly next to the noun or pronoun they are modifying. These adjectives can also appear just before a noun or a pronoun. Some common examples of attributive adjectives include eldest, fastest and slowly.

Distributive Adjectives

Distributive adjectives are next on the list. These adjectives are members of a group. Every, each, neither and either are some common examples of distributive adjectives.

Use of Adjective

Adjectives are used in four major ways.

Using Adjectives for Description

Adjectives serve as powerful tools for writers, adding depth and detail to their prose. By incorporating descriptive adjectives, writers can captivate readers and enhance the quality of their writing. In academic compositions, leveraging a rich variety of adjectives can elevate the sophistication of your work. Take the time to explore different types of adjectives and seek out synonyms to diversify your vocabulary.

Enhancing Text with Descriptive Adjectives

Adjectives play a pivotal role in crafting engaging and informative writing. These descriptive words enable writers to construct thought-provoking sentences that resonate with readers. By skillfully employing adjectives, you can amplify the impact of your text, transforming standard passages into captivating narratives that hold the reader’s attention.

Expressing Emotion through Adjectives

In emotive language, adjectives take on a heightened significance, allowing writers to convey feelings and emotions with precision. Whether delivering a speech or composing an essay, strategically incorporating adjectives enables you to articulate your message with clarity and resonance, fostering a deeper connection with your audience.

Elevating Writing with Adjectives

Adjectives are indispensable elements of the English language, essential for refining and enriching your writing. By infusing your prose with carefully chosen adjectives, you can elevate the clarity and specificity of your expression, creating more vivid and engaging compositions that leave a lasting impression.

Wrapping Up

Adjectives play a pivotal role in language, offering nuance and depth to our expressions. Understanding the different types of adjectives and their distinct applications is key to elevating your writing. By employing these words thoughtfully and accurately, you can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your prose.

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