Chapter 1-5: What is an Adjective?

Grammar > Parts of Speech > Adjective


An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective provides additional information about nouns or pronouns. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies and they do not have a plural form. Adjectives can answer the questions “what kind?”, “how many?”, and “which one?”.

In the following examples, the highlighted words are adjectives:

The truck-shaped balloon floated over the treetops.

Mrs. Morrison papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper.

The small boat foundered on the wine dark sea.

The coal mines are dark and dank.

Many stores have already begun to play irritating Christmas music.

A battered music box sat on the mahogany sideboard.

The back room was filled with large, yellow rain boots.

The boy loved the blue and white balloon. The boy loved the blue, white, and black balloon.

An adjective can be modified by an adverb, or by a phrase or clause functioning as an adverb. In the sentence

My husband knits intricately patterned mittens.

for example, the adverb "intricately" modifies the adjective "patterned."

Some nouns, many pronouns, and many participle phrases can also act as adjectives. In the sentence

Eleanor listened to the muffled sounds of the radio hidden under her pillow.

for example, both highlighted adjectives are past participles.

Grammarians also consider articles ("the," "a," "an") to be adjectives.


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