Grammar 13 min read

Adjectives: The Complete Guide With Tons of Examples

Main Adjectives Takeaways:

  • An adjective is a word that describes or modifies nouns or pronouns.
  • They can describe quantity, color, size, condition, origin, appearance, personality, and time.
  • They can provide degrees of comparison.
  • Attributive adjectives precede the noun they’re describing.
  • Predicate adjectives follow verbs such as become, look, or seem.
  • In certain situations, adjectives can become nouns, and vice versa.
  • Don’t rely on adjectives just to make prose prettier or shore up weak nouns.

Adjectives are words that describe, identify, or quantify nouns and pronouns. They provide details and answer questions such aswhose, how many, what type, and which one.

Understanding when and how to use this part of speech gives you an effective way to add color and clarity to your writing. And, to avoid using them incorrectly.

What Are Adjectives?

Adjectives describe, or modify, nouns and pronouns. Essentially, they provide the details that make nouns and pronouns more specific. An adjective describes the quality or state of being of a noun. This part of speech also describe the quantity or number.

A boy looking curiously at the word ADJECTIVES.
Adjectives are words that describe, identify, or quantify nouns and pronouns.

Each of these descriptive words typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • General appearance (pretty, bold, unattractive)
  • Shape and size (circular, narrow, deep)
  • Color (auburn, inky, clear)
  • Condition (damaged, pristine, frozen)
  • Quantity (plentiful, countless, few)
  • Personality (quirky, funny, heroic)
  • Time (yearly, prehistoric, concurrent)
  • Sense (ear-splitting, tasty, prickly)

What Are 10 Adjectives Examples ?

As words that provide details about a noun or program, there are almost limitless examples of adjectives. They often answer questions such as whose, how many, what type, and which one.

witty, golden, fair, icy, four-legged, smarter, largest, ancient, ugly, bland

What Are the 8 Types Of Adjectives?

There are eight types of adjectives. And, each adjective falls into one of these categories.

Which category depends on its placement and relation with other parts of speech in a sentence.

For instance, these types include descriptive, distributive, interrogative, possessive, proper, quantitative, sequence, or indefinite.

1. Descriptive

Descriptive adjectives are usually the first kind that come to mind when think about this part of speech.

However, these words assign a quality or attribute to a noun or pronoun. This helps you define your subject clearly and exactly.

the rocky coastline

his torn jeans
the mean cashier

2. Distributive

Distributive adjectives point out or draw attention to a particular noun in a crowd. Place these before the noun they’re modifying. The noun they modify is usually singular.

Distributive adjectives: Any, Each, Every, Either, Neither
She petted every puppy in the room.
I didn’t like either option.
You can pick any appetizer you want.

3. Interrogative

These are descriptive words that ask a question when paired with a noun or pronoun.

Interrogative adjectives: Whose, Which, What
What recipe do you make most often?
Whose coat is that?
Which team are you rooting for?
A cute girl, a tall man, a thin boy, and an elderly woman.
Common examples of adjectives. How will you describe the person next to you?

4. Possessive

This kind of descriptive word shows ownership.

Possessive Adjectives: his, her, its, their, our, my, your, whose
His dog dug up all of our tulips.
I think my parents are older than your parents.
I like to spend time with people whose mindset matches mine.

5. Proper

We derive proper adjectives from proper nouns. This means that they stand for proper nouns. As a result, you need to capitalize the first letter of these descriptive words.

They identify a specific place, person, or thing. They may be hyphenated.

On our first date, we went to the German festival at the fairgrounds.
She loved to read Shakespeareansonnets out loud.
He practiced his language skills when he visited a French-speaking region.

6. Quantitative

On the other hand, Quantitative adjectives describe how much or how many noun or pronoun they’re modifying.

Before they got married, he told her he wanted eight children.
Hand me a few cookies.

7. Sequence

Although sequence adjectives are similar to quantitative in that they assign numbers to a noun or pronoun, there’s one significant difference. The former use ordinal numbers to imply order.

I promised to adopt a kitten from the first litter.
Loretta was the second batter to hit a home run.

8. Indefinite

Adjectives generally add specificity to nouns or pronouns. But, they can also point out nonspecific items.

Indefinite adjectives: few, any, no, several, many
Please don’t give me any backtalk.
There was no ice cream in the freezer.
I think he has several jobs available.

What Are Positive Adjectives?

Positive adjectives are words that you use to describe emotions about people, events, places, ideas, or objects that made you feel good. By using positive adjectives, you’ll be able to express your happy thoughts effectively, helping people better understand your feelings or disposition. Here are some examples:

Jay’s parents were beaming with pride when he graduated from medical school.
The bride felt nothing but bliss as she walked down the aisle of the church to meet her groom.
The toddler enjoys listening to nursery rhymes.

As you may have noticed, the adjectives we used let you have a mental image of the positive emotions we’ve described.

What Are Negative Adjectives?

Besides positive adjectives, there are also negative adjectives. In contrast, negative adjectives describe bad emotions. And although these two function the same way, it’s important that you choose your negative adjectives carefully. Otherwise, you might end up offending someone or evoking unintended feelings from others. The following are examples of negative adjectives.

He was hostile toward his boss and colleagues.
The delivery guy has a nasty habit of throwing parcels at people’s doors.
The old man is cynical about life and don’t believe in love or trust.

Unlike positive adjectives, negative adjectives are often used by people in arguments to insult or berate others. Again, try to use these words sparingly to avoid conflict or upsetting others.

Two boys wearing placards labeled as adjective and noun. The boy wearing the adjective placard is pointing to the boy wearing the noun placard while saying "you're one stylish noun!"
One of the most common functions of adjectives is to describe nouns and pronouns.

What Are the Degrees Of Comparison Of Adjectives?

You can also use adjectives to define something to a certain degree. They come in three-degree levels: positive, comparative, and superlative.

1. Positive

Also known as absolute, you may use the positive degree when you’re referring to a single noun.

Betty is tall.
Matthew has a beautiful parakeet.
Lola knows she’s smart.

2. Comparative

This is your go-to adjective type when you’re comparing two of something.

  • Typically, adding -er to an adjective creates the comparative form (e.g., smarter, taller, narrower).
  • Other descriptive words become comparatives by adding the word more in front of them (e.g., more beautiful).
  • All comparatives should be paired with the word than.
  • If the adjective ends in “y,” the “y” should be changed to an “i” before adding -er (e.g., pretty becomes prettier).
Betty is tallerthan Jacob.
Matthew’s last parakeet was more beautiful than the one he has now.
Lola thinks she’s smarter than Mary.

3. Superlative

When comparing three or more things, the superlative degree is the one to use.

  • It’s typically created by adding -est to the adjective (smartest, tallest, narrowest) or pairing the adjective with the word most (most beautiful).
  • If the adjective ends in “y,” the “y” should be changed to an “i” before adding -est (e.g., pretty becomes prettiest).
Betty is the tallest girl on the team.
Matthew has the most beautiful parakeet you’ve ever seen.
Lola thinks she’s the smartest girl in the whole school.

The Three Cs of Multipart Adjectives: Coordinate, Cumulative, and Compound

Sometimes you just need a second adjective to complete the job.

This is where coordinate and cumulative adjectives come into play. They are words that you can combine to provide additional meaning to a single noun or pronoun.

1. Coordinate Adjectives

Both words in a coordinate adjective are equally important. But, a comma should separate them.

He couldn’t help falling in love with quirky, beautiful Isabelle.

2. Cumulative Adjectives

Next, Cumulative adjectives are multiple words that build on one another to create meaning. However, they must maintain a particular order to make sense. They’re easy to recognize because they can’t be reversed and won’t make sense if you use and between them.

The prize-winning hunting dog was often seen flushing out birds in the woods near the lake.

3. Compound Adjectives

Finally, Compound adjectives contain more than one word. They are typically linked together by a hyphen.

Daisy was only a part-time employee, but they expected her to handle a full-time workload.
The dog vaulted over the six-foot fence as if it was nothing more than a tree stump.
A boy looking at sunflower. He's thinking of what adjective to use to describe it. Is it beautiful, spectacular, or radiant?
Positive degree is the normal form of an adjective. Meaning, these adjectives don’t make comparisons.

The Placement of Adjectives

Adjectives may be broken down into types based on their placement in a sentence and their relationship to other parts of speech.

1. Attributive

These are words that are placed immediately before the noun that they’re describing.

a sunny sky
an overstuffed bag

2. Predicate

These descriptive words typically appear after a linking verb.

Predicate adjectives: is, are, am, was, were, seemed, looked
We were exhausted after swimming.
I was furious after talking to the teacher.
Toward evening, the sky looked stormy.

3. Postpositive

Postpositive adjectives are descriptors that immediately follow a noun or pronoun.

the best tickets available
something wicked

What Are Gradable and Non Gradable Adjectives?

Almost all adjectives are gradable, letting their meaning be altered by strategic placement of adverbs such as:

  • fairly
  • rather
  • very
  • extremely
  • dreadfully
  • slightly
  • reasonably

By pairing gradable adjectives with these adverbs, their meaning can increase or decrease in intensity.

The pool was slightly cold.
The water in the pool was very cold.
The pool water was extremely cold.
The pool was dreadfully cold.

What Is the Difference Between Adjectives And Adverbs With Examples?

Due to their similar sound and appearance, these two parts of speech often get mixed up. Thankfully, there are easy ways to distinguish between the two.

It’s all in the Name

To distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, all you have to do is look at the name: adverbs. As its name implies, adverbs are used to modify verbs, whereas adjectives are used to modify nouns or pronouns.

Look for the -LY

Many adverbs end in -ly, making them easy to identify.

quickly, arrogantly, dangerously, stupidly

I Feel Bad vs. I Feel Badly: A Brief Comparison

It’s helpful to examine individual sentences when trying to understand the difference between adjectives and adverbs.

For example, in the sentence, “Bob feels bad,” bad is an adjective. Essentially, in this sentence, Bob feels under the weather.

On the other hand, in the sentence, “Bob feels badly,” badly is an adverb (note the -ly!). In this case, feeling badly refers to a poor sense of touch and Bob’s inability to experience tactile sensations.

Abracadabra! When Nouns Become Adjectives and Vice Versa

Here’s where things get tricky: sometimes the parts of speech can masquerade as other parts of speech.

In certain circumstances, nouns modify or clarify other nouns. This effectively turns them into adjectives.

These converted nouns are known as noun modifiers or adjectival nouns.

peach tea, sports car, cucumber salad

On the flip side, adjectives can also function as nouns.

In certain circumstances, adjectives can become nouns, and vice versa
In certain circumstances, adjectives can become nouns, and vice versa

This happens when they describe groups of people. In these circumstances, the noun being modified drops away. As a result, the adjective takes the place of the noun.

The unemployed people would simply become the unemployed.
the rich, the jobless, the accused, the young, the strong,
Note: These adjectives-turned-nouns must always be placed immediately after the definite the.

From Clunky to Clear: Choosing Good Adjectives

Adjectives can add specificity. But unfortunately, they can also be clunky and contribute to flowery, overwritten prose, and an unsavory concoction known commonly as adjective soup.

Descriptive words are also one of the most overused parts of speech, particularly in creative writing. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right ones for your sentences—if you need any at all.

Ultimately, a good adjective is one that adds meaning to your sentence. It should quantify, clarify, and enhance. What it shouldn’t do is shore up a weak noun or exist solely to add prettiness to your prose.

After all, that big house may really be an estate—and that loud, booming shout? Well, it’s really just a shout after all, plain and simple.

Adjective infographic
INK Adjectives Infographic

List of Common Adjectives


bleak bright cool dark earthy fluorescent glowing glossy hazy intense iridescent light lustrous matte monochromatic natural neutral opaque pale pastel solid translucent vibrant warm


all countless each enormous even every few finite first huge immense indefinite infinite last many most odd one several some three two unlimited varying


acidic awful bad bitter bittersweet bland citrusy cold earthy fresh fruity good hot pleasant refreshing rich salty smoky sour spicy sweet tangy warm zesty


beautiful bright calm clear cold dry fair favorable harsh hot lovely mild nice pleasant rainy seasonable serene stormy sunny superb terrible unseasonable wet windy wintry


colossal considerable enormous exact extra small gigantic huge ideal immense large massive maximum medium moderate monstrous ordinary small standard thick thin unequal unusual varying vast


ancient appropriate better brief certain considerable desired future given happiest hard later lost modern nice past precious prehistoric present quiet real short spare usual valuable


angular broad circular crooked cylindrical flat narrow oval perfect rectangular round skinny slender slim square tapered three-dimensional triangular two-dimensional wide


earsplitting faint gentle harsh husky loud low low-pitched melodic muffled noisy quiet raspy screaming screech shrill silent soft squeaky squeal thunderous velvety


acceptable amusing callous cautious dignified emotional gentle haughty irresponsible lax mysterious obnoxious odd polite proper scandalous selfish sly strange unassuming unconventional weird


awkward critical deplorable desperate embarrassing financial happy horrible imaginary interesting make-believe miserable peculiar perilous present pretend real romantic strange temporary terrible uncomfortable undesirable unhappy unpleasant


angry annoyed apprehensive bitter deep emotional happy heartfelt helpless infectious overpowering pent-up profound quiet raw sad sentimental uneasy


airy bumpy chalky chewy creamy crispy crumbly crunchy crusty delicate dry flaky fluffy fuzzy gooey greasy hard mushy powdery prickly rough rubbery silky slimy smooth

Just a Quick Adjectives Quiz to Help You Master Your new Skills

Adjective Question #1

Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is FALSE. Adjectives can only describe or modify nouns and pronouns.

Adjective Question #2

Which of these words is an adjective?
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is DELICIOUS. Delicious is a descriptive adjective — it describes food's taste.

Adjective Question #3

Select the adjective(s) in the sentence: Wanda walked behind her little brother.

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

The answers are HER and LITTLE. Her is a possessive adjective, while little is a quantitative adjective that describes the brother's size.

Adjective Question #4

Select all the examples of quantitative adjectives.

Please select 3 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

The answers are FIVE, MANY, and FEW. Quantitative adjectives describe the exact or approximate amount of a noun (think quantity).

Adjective Question #5

Which sentence is correct
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is B. Separate the two words in a coordinate adjective with a comma.

Adjective Question #6

Comparative adjectives usually end in -est.
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is FALSE. The comparative form of an adjective usually ends in -er. For example, She is taller than her brother.

Adjectives Quiz Result
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Read More: Adjectives Starting With A

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Pam Weber

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, Writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

Comments (5)
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  1. jerome iradukunda September 23 at 3:33 pm GMT

    I think you guys should create a meeting program and help some students in English because you all look like. Good teachers

    • Krista Grace Morris September 28 at 10:03 am GMT

      Thank you, Jerome! You’re too kind! We have several new articles and videos we plan to launch soon. Stay tuned!

      • jerome iradukunda September 29 at 4:50 pm GMT

        ok then be waiting

  2. IMAD IMAD November 04 at 7:53 pm GMT

    tank you krista

    • Krista Grace Morris November 05 at 6:08 am GMT

      Thank YOU, Imad!

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