Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes a noun, giving extra information about it. For example:

a sweet taste

a red apple

a technical problem

an Italian woman

 

Positions of adjectives

Most adjectives can be used in two positions: attributive adjectives occur before the noun they describe, while predicative adjectives are used after certain verbs:

a black cat [attributive]
The cat was black. [predicative]

 

Read more about attributive and predicative adjectives.

 

Comparative and superlative adjectives

Most adjectives have three forms: the positive (e.g. sad); the comparative (e.g. sadder); and the superlative (e.g. saddest). The formation of comparative and superlative adjectives (and adverbs) is known as comparison.

 

Read more about comparative and superlative adjectives

 

Gradable and non-gradable adjectives

Most adjectives are gradable. This means that you can modify (strengthen, weaken, or otherwise change) their meanings by placing one or more adverbs in front of them (e.g. a very expensive car).

 

Non-gradable adjectives are those with meanings which cannot be modified by adverbs (e.g. western, electric).

 

Read more about gradable and non-gradable adjectives.

 

Qualitative and classifying adjectives

Adjectives can also be divided into two other types:

qualitative adjectives describe the qualities of someone or something (e.g. tall, long, hot)

 

classifying adjectives are used to put people or things into categories or classes (e.g. weekly, northern, external)

 

Read more about qualitative and classifying adjectives.

 

Back to word classes (or parts of speech).

 

You may also be interested in:

Verbs

Nouns

Adverbs

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Grammar and usage