Grammar 10 min read

Adjectives: The Ultimate 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 as whose, how many, what type, and which one.

Great idea: Want to make sure people find your content online? INK is the world's favorite editor for creating web content because it can help your content be more relevant for search engines.
Get the Best Writing Tool For Free
First AI web content optimization platform just for writers
GET INK

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 do Adjectives Describe?

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 Adjectives and Give 10 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
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?

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
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
One of the most common functions of adjectives is to describe nouns and pronouns.

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?

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 Shakespearean sonnets 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.

Adjectives as Degrees of Comparison

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.
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.

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 taller than 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.

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

Gradable vs. Non-gradable

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.

Adjectives vs. Adverbs: How to Distinguish Between the Two

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

Color

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

Quantity

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

Taste

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

Weather

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

Size

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

Time

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

Shape

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

Sound

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

Behavior

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

Situations

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

Feelings

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

Texture

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! Oops! That's incorrect.

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

Adjective Question #2

Which of these words is an adjective?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

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! Oops! That's incorrect.

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! Oops! That's incorrect.

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! Oops! That's incorrect.

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! Oops! That's incorrect.

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
You're an expert!

You're an expert!

Not Bad!

Not Bad!

Almost got it! Review the article and try again.

Almost got it! Review the article and try again.

Read More: Adjectives Starting With A

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

Found this article interesting?

Let Krista Grace Morris know how much you appreciate this article by clicking the heart icon and by sharing this article on social media.


Profile Image

Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

Comments (3)
Most Recent most recent
You
  1. Profile Image
    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

    • Profile Image
      Krista Grace Morris Author 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!

      • Profile Image
        jerome iradukunda September 29 at 4:50 pm GMT

        ok then be waiting

200
share Scroll to top

Link Copied Successfully

Sign in

Sign in to access your personalized homepage, follow authors and topics you love, and clap for stories that matter to you.

Sign in with Google Sign in with Facebook

By using our site you agree to our privacy policy.