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Adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe nouns (or pronouns). "Old," "green," and "cheerful" are examples of adjectives. (It might be useful to think of adjectives as "describing words.")

This infographic shows where an adjective sits in relation to the noun it describes:
 

What are adjectives?

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Examples of Adjectives

Here are some examples of adjectives. (In each example, the adjective is highlighted.)

Adjective Before the Noun

An adjective usually comes directly before the noun it describes (or "modifies," as grammarians say).

  • old man
  • green coat
  • cheerful one
  • ("One" is a pronoun. Don't forget that adjectives modify pronouns too.)

When adjectives are used like this, they're called attributive adjectives.

Adjective After the Noun

An adjective can come after the noun.

  • Jack was old.
  • It looks green.
  • He seems cheerful.

In the three examples above, the adjectives follow linking verbs ("was," "looks," and "seems") to describe the noun or pronoun. (When adjectives are used like this, they're called predicative adjectives.)

Adjective Immediately After the Noun

Sometimes, an adjective comes immediately after a noun.

  • the Princess Royal
  • time immemorial
  • body beautiful
  • the best seats available
  • the worst manners imaginable

When adjectives are used like this, they're called postpositive adjectives. Postpositive adjectives are more common with pronouns.

  • someone interesting
  • those present
  • something evil
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