Adjectives are the flavor in a sentence. An adjective gives a noun life. Read the following adjective definition and examples.
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
An adjective is the part of speech that describes or limits a noun or pronoun.
Words that modify nouns and pronouns are adjectives. Phrases that modify nouns and pronouns are adjective phrases. Clauses that modify nouns and pronouns are called adjective clauses.
The most easy to recognize adjectives are descriptive. Here are some examples of descriptive adjectives:
If you ask the question "what kind of table?" and are able to answer with a descriptive word (in this case low), that word is the adjective.
What kind of feet? Little.
What kind of soldiers? Carved.
What kind of troops? Hostile.
What kind of strategy? Brilliant.
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Below is the definition of a limiting adjective followed by examples.
When numbers are used to limit nouns in sentences, they are also adjectives because they are describing a limitation. The articles a, an and the are also limiting adjectives.
Pronominal adjectives are subdivided into 4 categories.
1. Demonstrative: This, that, these, those
2. Possessive: My, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose
3. Interrogative: Which, what, whose
4. Indefinite: Another, each, either, every, much, neither, both, few, many, several, all, any, enough, no, more, most, other, some
Here are some examples of limiting adjectives:
There are 3 kinds of limiting adjectives:
Just like descriptive adjectives, you can ask a question and if you are able to answer with a word, that word is the adjective.
How many feet? Two.
What soldiers? The.
How many troops? Many.
Whose strategy? His.
"A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation."
Adjective phrases are phrases that describe a noun. These phrases do not contain a verb and are usually introduced by a preposition: of, to, with, between.
two groups of tiny carved wooden soldiers
the man with the large hands
Sometimes, entire clauses can modify a noun or a pronoun. These are called adjective clauses.
Adjective clauses are generally introduced by a word like where, which, that, whose and usually contains a verb: stood, were committed.
on the table that stood on delicate little feet in front of him
he reached the point where the two forces were committed to decisive battle.
Read the paragraph below. We have italicized the adjective clauses for easy selection.
The Sultan Suliman sat cross-legged on a cushion in his tent, a map spread out on the low table that stood on delicate little feet in front of him. On this map he maneuvered two armies, his own and his enemy's, represented by two groups of carved soldiers.
With grave concentration he studied the positions of the enemy and deployed the hostile troops as he imagined his rival general would--conceding him every advantage and giving him credit for brilliant strategy. Then, shifting his attention to his own little wooden army, he put it through tactics that would check his enemy's latest move.
At the end of an hour's silent work, he reached the point where the two forces were committed to decisive battle. He sat back and studied the relationship between the armies. A slow smile started at the corners of his mouth.
"I believe that does it; I've checked him," he murmured. "He can't do a thing. I've got him!" And the sultan threw back his head to laugh. But the laugh never came. For his eyes, swinging up, fell upon the opening of the tent, where stood his enemy in the flesh, a great curved smile upon his lips and a great curved scimitar in his hands.
There are so many places where adjectives add flavor to this story! Besides the italicized adjective clauses, there are several descriptive adjectives, a handful of limiting adjectives and a few adjective phrases. Can you find them?
I hope that the adjective definition and examples were helpful in your understanding of adjectives!
As an added bonus, we diagramed one of the sentences from the story above to demonstrate what adjective phrases and clauses more clearly.
Diagram: At the end of an hour's silent work he reached the point where the two forces were committed to decisive battle.
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