English Grammar: Adjectives

English Grammar: Adjectives

English Grammar: Adjectives

Last Updated on Nov 1, 2020

English Grammar is is important for our day to day use and as well as for exam purpose. Since, is important for all the Aptitude Exams, we have created a series of blog posts covered under ‘English Grammar’ . 
This blog post is also a part of our English Grammar series. You can click here for related posts.
In this post, we are talking about Adjectives.

What are Adjectives?
Adjectives are words that describe the qualities or states of being of nouns: enormous, doglike, silly, yellow, fun, fast. They can also describe the quantity of nouns: many, few, millions, eleven.

Adjectives Modify Nouns

Most students learn that adjectives are words which modify (describe) a noun. Adjectives do not modify verbs or adverbs or other adjectives.

Margot wore a beautiful hat to the pie-eating contest.
Furry dogs may overheat in the summertime.

In the sentences above, the adjectives are easy to spot because they come immediately before the nouns they modify.

But adjectives can do more than just modify nouns. They can also act as a complement to linking verbs or the verb to be. A linking verb is a verb like to feel, to seem, or to taste that describes a state of being or a sensory experience.

That cow sure is happy.
It smells gross in the locker room.

Functions of Adjectives

  • Describe feelings or qualities
    Example- These people are honest.
  • Give nationality or origin
    Example- This house is Victorian.
  • Tell more about a thing’s characteristics
    Example- It is a flashy car.
  • Tells about age
    Example- John’s coat is very old.
  • Tell us what something is made of
    Example- This is a wooden chair.
  • Tell us about shape
    Example- It is a square table.
  • Express a judgement or a value
    Example- It is a complicated issue.

Degrees of Adjectives

Adjectives can express degrees of modification:

  • Gladys is a rich woman, but Josie is richer than Gladys, and Sadie is the richest woman in town.

The degrees of comparison are known as the positive, the comparative, and the superlative. (Actually, only the comparative and superlative show degrees.) We use the comparative for comparing two things and the superlative for comparing three or more things. Notice that the word than frequently accompanies the comparative and the word theprecedes the superlative. The inflected suffixes -erand -est suffice to form most comparatives and superlatives, although we need -ier and -iest when a two-syllable adjective ends in y (happier and happiest); otherwise we use more and most when an adjective has more than one syllable.

Adjectives vs. Adverbs

As mentioned above, many of us learned in school that adjectives modify nouns and that adverbs modify verbs. But as we’ve seen, adjectives can also act as complements for linking verbs. This leads to a common type of error: incorrectly substituting an adverb in place of a predicate adjective. An example you’ve probably heard before is:

INCORRECT – I feel badly about what happened.

Because “feel” is a verb, it seems to call for an adverb rather than an adjective. But “feel” isn’t just any verb; it’s a linking verb. An adverb would describe how you perform the action of feeling—an adjective describes what you feel. “I feel badly” means that you are bad at feeling things. If you’re trying to read Braille through thick leather gloves, then it might make sense for you to say “I feel badly.” But if you’re trying to say that you are experiencing negative emotions, “I feel bad” is the phrase you want.


In this post, we have defined Adjectives with the help of easy examples. Degree of Adjectives and Adjectives v/s Adverbs are also explained, which has made the concept even more clear and easy to understand.
For more posts related to English, check the links mentioned below.
Subject of a Sentence
English Preparation

Also, let us know your comments and suggestions in the comment section below.

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