Certain parts of speech are integral. Nouns and verbs are needed to make a complete sentence. With a firm understanding of these parts of speech, we can move into the world of adjectives and adverbs.
We have modifiers that dress up the most integral parts of our everyday language. Adjectives, in particular, pair up with nouns. It's their job to modify nouns, pronouns, and even other adjectives. This takes us from "the girl" to "the pretty girl."
Given their importance, there are several different types of adjectives. Let's dive right into this multifaceted world.
Coordinate adjectives are small groups of adjectives that band together to modify the same noun. They're separated by the word "and" or with commas. Here are some examples:
Just be careful when you're piling up words before a noun. For example, "blue hospital gown" doesn't have any commas or the word "and." That's because "blue" is modifying "hospital gown." If in doubt over two words that could possibly be modifiers, place the word "and" between them. If it doesn't make sense, know you're dealing with a descriptive adjective and not a coordinate adjective.
Demonstrative adjectives point to "which" noun or pronoun you're speaking about. These four words will help you spot demonstrative adjectives:
Typically - although not always - adjectives come before the noun they're modifying. With demonstrative adjectives, it's a sure bet. They'll stand right in front of the noun they're working with. Here are some examples:
The most common of the adjectives are descriptive adjectives. They're generally what we envision when we imagine a word modifying a noun. They give the noun a quality or attribute. This takes us from "the brother" to "the evil brother." Or, we learn more as we progress from "the daisy" to "the perky daisy." Here are three sample sentences:
Distributive adjectives point out specific entities. They single out a particular noun or pronoun in order to modify, or draw attention, to it. Notable distributive adjectives include:
Like most of their comrades, these adjectives stand right beside the noun they're modifying. Here are some samples:
You can also have indefinite adjectives. Similar to indefinite articles, these adjectives point to non-specific items. Be on the lookout for these token words to know you're hot on the trail of an indefinite adjective:
Here are some sample sentences:
Interrogative adjectives pose a question. They need a noun or pronoun by their side. In this category, be on the lookout for these words:
Let's look at some examples:
Each interrogative adjective needed a noun after it. There are other words that pose a question, such as "who" and "how," but they can't be adjectives because they don't modify nouns. For example, you can say, "Whose land are we standing on?" But, it would be incorrect to say, "Who land are we standing on?" or, "How land are we standing on?"
These labels are pretty handy, huh? We're about to learn possessive adjectives show possession. Easy enough, right? Here are the key players in the possessive adjective realm:
Like demonstrative adjectives, possessive adjectives always come before their corresponding nouns, with one notable exception. Before we get to that, consider these sample sentences:
Those possessive adjectives are immediately followed by the noun. If you would like to eliminate the requirement of the corresponding noun, you need to change the adjective. Only "his" stays the same.
It would be incorrect to say, "That's their," but it's perfectly acceptable to say, "That's his." Now, you can also say:
With the exception of some possessive adjectives, all the examples here are attributive adjectives. That is, they come before the noun they modify. However, things get a little more complicated in the land of linking verbs. Common linking verbs include:
Adjectives that pop up after the linking verb are known as predicate adjectives. For example:
Notice each of these adjectives is modifying the subject of the sentence - "she," "we," and "they." They're trickier to spot because they come after the verb, instead of before the noun, but they're still a member of the adjective tribe.
Proper adjectives are capitalized adjectives derived from proper nouns. A proper noun is a specific name for a person, place, or thing. So, instead of "she," we have "Marie." Instead of "country," we have "Japan." Proper adjectives look a lot like their ancestral proper nouns. They just shift a little bit. Here are some examples:
Quantitative adjectives describe the quantity of something. Now, we don't just have a noun or pronoun. We can also answer the question, "How much?" or "How many?" This turns words like "one" or "two" into adjectives. But, really, any quantity that's providing further information about a noun constitutes a quantitative noun. Let's take a look:
As an aside, when writing numbers, it's generally accepted practice to write out the numbers zero through nine and use numerals for anything 10 and above.
Sequence adjectives are akin to quantitative adjectives. Instead of specifying "two children" or "six puppies," you can assign an order to your numbers. They use the appropriately named ordinal numbers as ordinal adjectives. For example:
We also have other adjectives that illustrate the order of things without using a specific number. Here are some examples:
Remember that, when a number or a sequence is being allocated to a noun, you have a sequence adjective.
Here's where things get tricky. There are three articles in the English language: a, an, the. Aren't articles… articles? Yes. But, they also act as adjectives. They fall into the same pattern we've been discussing. They stand beside their nouns. Let's look at them in simple sentences:
Each article is, indeed, an adjective. They point to a specific noun. While we're here, let's take a quick run through the two categories of articles. They are:
Have you ever heard someone's writing referred to as "flowery"? Basically, they loaded it up with descriptors - most likely adjectives or adverbs - and made their writing clunky. Of course, we're here to reach a certain level of grammatical genius, so it's good to understand all these subcategories. Just consider the amount of adjectives you sprinkle into your writing. Like anything else, you don't want to go too far.
With that in mind, put some of these adjectives in your back pocket. Perhaps one of them will serve you well in your next short story or poem.