Adjective: Definition, Meaning & Examples (2022)

In English, words are grouped into word classes based on their function in a sentence. There are nine main word classes in English; nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, determiners, conjunctions, and interjections. This explanation is all about adjectives.

Adjective meaning

An adjective is a word usually used to modify and provide more information about a noun or pronoun. Adjectives are often called 'describing words' as they describe a feature or quality of the noun, such as colour, size, quantity etc. Therefore, adjectives can be used to add depth and more meaning to a sentence.

Adjective examples

There are many adjectives in the English language that can be used to tell us more information about a noun.

In the examples below, the adjectives and nouns have been highlighted:

  • A beautiful forest

  • A meaningful gift

  • An old car

  • The baby's first word

  • A red book

  • A relaxed outfit

  • He was happier than her

  • The tallest boy in the class

  • My car

  • That tree over there

  • American football

The order of adjectives

When we use more than one adjective, there is a certain order we put them in.

Take a look at this sentence:

The blue old big car drove down the lane.

It really doesn't sound right, does it? This is because adjectives are arranged in a regular order.

Take a look at this corrected sentence:

The big old blue car drove down the lane.

This sentence just 'feels' better as the adjectives are placed in a recognisable way.

For native English language speakers, putting adjectives in the correct order tends to come naturally, we can just feel it in our bones. However, for non-native speakers, remembering the order of adjectives can be a tricky process.

When there is a sequence of multiple adjectives, their order can be arranged as follows:

  1. Quantity ('three bottles of rum')

  2. Opinion or Observation ('It's a lovely shirt' / 'It's a ripped shirt')

  3. Size ('It's a tiny shirt')

  4. Shape ('It's a square shirt')

    (Video) Adjective Definition With Examples

  5. Age ('It's a new shirt')

  6. Color ('It's a pink shirt')

  7. Origin ('It's an American shirt')

  8. Material ('It's a cotton shirt')

  9. Purpose ('It's a business shirt')

If we used all of these adjectives in the correct order to describe the shirt, the sentence would look like this, 'Three, lovely, tiny, square, new, pink, American, cotton business shirts.'

Adjective: Definition, Meaning & Examples (1)Fig 1. A big, old, blue car

The positioning of adjectives

Adjectives can be placed in several different positions within a sentence. These positions include:

  • Before a noun (pre-modification)

  • After a noun (post-modification)

  • On its own as a complement

Pre-modification adjectives

Pre-modification is when an adjective is placed before a noun to add information. For example:

  • The red car

  • The ugly man

  • The happy hamster

  • A loud noise

Adjectives that pre-modify a noun are traditionally called attributive adjectives.

It is important to note that pre-modification is a term that can be applied to any information added before a noun. Other word classes pre-modify a noun, for example, determiners ('the' dog) and adverbs (the 'very' big dog). Whole phrases and clauses may also pre-modify a noun. By adding these different bits of information you create a noun phrase.

Post-modification adjectives

Post-modification is when an adjective is placed after a noun to add information. For example:

  • The car will be red

  • The man was ugly

  • The hamster is happy

  • The noise was loud

These are traditionally called predicative adjectives. The adjective is not used immediately after the noun, instead, it follows an auxiliary verb that links the sentence such as 'is', 'was', or 'seems'.

Adjectives as a complement

Adjectives can also be used as a complement to 'complete the sentence'. This is a form of post-modification however, in this case, the adjective is used with a pronoun rather than a noun. Here are some examples:

  • It will be red

  • He was ugly

  • She is happy

  • It was loud

(Video) What is an Adjective | Parts of Speech Song for Kids | Jack Hartmann

As you can see, the adjective is used to modify the pronouns ('he', 'she', 'it'). It describes a quality about the person or thing, however, it does not specifically state what is being described. Complements usually follow the forms of the verb 'to be' such as 'is', 'was', and 'will be'.

Most adjectives can be used as a pre-modification, post-modification, or a complement. For example:

The adjective 'happy' can pre modify a verb ('the happy hamster'), post-modify a verb ('the hamster is happy'), or be used as a complement to a pronoun ('it was happy').

There are only a few adjectives that are restricted to one position. For example:

The adjective 'main' can be used to post-modify a noun ('the main reason') but can not be used to pre-modify a noun ('the reason is main').

This is the opposite for the adjective 'alone' which can be used to post-modify a noun ('the child is alone') but can not be used to pre-modify a noun ('the alone child').

Adjective: Definition, Meaning & Examples (2)Fig 2. A happy hamster

Types of adjectives

There are many different types of adjectives, which are categorised based on the functions they perform in a sentence.

The main adjectives are:

  • Descriptive adjectives

  • Evaluative adjectives

  • Quantitative adjectives

  • Interrogative adjectives

  • Proper adjectives

  • Demonstrative and indefinite adjectives

  • Possessive adjectives

  • Compound adjectives

  • Degree of comparison adjectives (positive, comparative, and superlative).

Descriptive adjectives

Descriptive adjectives, sometimes called qualitative adjectives, are used to describe a feature or quality of a thing, person, or object. They add extra information about a noun or a pronoun. For example, in this sentence 'the red car', red is the descriptive adjective as it describes the colour of the car.

Evaluative adjectives

Evaluative adjectives give someone's opinion about a noun. For example, 'The exam was difficult' or 'The cake was delicious'. It can't be proved that the cake was delicious, therefore, it is an opinion (though who doesn't find cake delicious?).

Quantitative adjectives

Quantitative adjectives provide information on the, you guessed it, quantity of the noun. Generally, quantitative adjectives answer the questions how much? and how many?. E.g. 'I have three bags' or 'It took some time.'

Interrogative adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are words that ask a question. They are whose, which, and what. Interrogative adjectives must come before a noun or pronoun to be considered an adjective. E.g. 'Whose drink is this?'

Proper adjectives

Proper adjectives are simply proper nouns acting as an adjective in a sentence. A proper noun is a specific or unique noun, such as a country, a famous person, or a brand. When a proper noun is used to describe another noun, e.g. 'An American shirt', it is considered a proper adjective. Further examples include Indian food and Nike trainers.

(Video) Parts of Speech for Kids: What is an Adjective?

Demonstrative and indefinite adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives modify nouns by showing a direct reference to something or someone, e.g. I like that house.' The demonstrative adjectives are; this, that, those, and these. Demonstrative adjectives must go before a noun, otherwise, they are considered demonstrative pronouns.

Indefinite adjectives work in the opposite way to demonstrative adjectives in that they modify the noun in a non-specific way. Indefinite adjectives provide unspecific information about a noun, e.g. ' I gave him some work to do.' Examples of indefinite adjectives are; some, any, many, few, most, and much.

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives are used to show that a noun belongs to someone, e.g. his, hers, our, my, their. Possessive adjectives must go before a noun, otherwise, they are considered possessive pronouns. For example, 'That's my bike.'

Compound adjectives

A compound adjective is when more than one word is used to describe a noun, and these words are joined together in some way. Usually, compound adjectives are joined with a hyphen or are separated from the rest of the sentence with quotation marks. For example, 'The ten-foot-high pole.' and 'He gave her his best 'be quiet' eyes.'

Degrees of comparison

When comparing two or more nouns, adjectives can give further information about the extent of the comparison. We can compare nouns using three types of adjectives, positive, comparative, and superlative.

The initial adjective is the positive degree adjective - it is the basic, unchanged form of the adjective (e.g. fast, slow, big). We then modify the positive degree adjectives to create comparative and superlative adjectives which show a comparison.

Comparative adjectives

A comparative adjective, as the name suggests, compares two or more nouns. This can be:

  • To a lesser degree, for example, smaller or less heavy. These adjectives can be made by adding the suffix '-er' or the word 'less'.

  • To the same degree, for example, 'as big as'.

  • To a higher degree, for example, bigger or more powerful. These adjectives can be made by adding the suffix '-er' or the word 'more'.

Superlative adjectives

This is the highest or lowest possible form of the adjective. For example, 'highest', 'tallest', 'most handsome'. Superlative adjectives can often be made by adding the suffix '-est' or the word 'most'.

Adjective: Definition, Meaning & Examples (3)Fig 3. Comparative and superlative adjectives

You may also hear the term 'grading', which simply means that an adjective can have more or less of the quality that they refer to. Comparative and superlative adjectives are both examples of grading.

Adjectives with irregular forms

There are some adjectives that, when made into comparative or superlative forms, become irregular. A good example of this is the adjective good. When changed into a comparative adjective good becomes better. When changed into a superlative adjective it becomes best.

Adjective: Definition, Meaning & Examples (4)Fig 4. Irregular comparative and superlative adjectives

Something similar also happens for the word bad.

Initial positive adjective - bad

Comparative adjective - worse

Superlative adjective - worst

Absolute adjectives

Absolute adjectives are qualitative adjectives that can't be graded, intensified, or compared to anything else. In other words, they are in their 'ultimate' form. Some examples of absolute adjectives include:

  • Perfect

  • Empty

  • Infinite

  • Supreme

A thing can not be more 'perfect' or 'more infinite' than another. Therefore it is in its absolute form.

  • British

    (Video) Definition of adjective with examples | definition of adjective of quality |

  • Northern

  • Annual

  • Rural

It is not possible to have a 'more annual fair' and it is not grammatically correct to say 'more northern'. That is because each of these adjectives describes a group or category.

Adjective phrases

An adjective phrase is a simple phrase (group of words) that is headed by an adjective. The adjective phrase acts as the adjective in a sentence.

These flowers are more beautiful than the others.

In this example, the adjective phrase is 'more beautiful than the others'. The main adjective is beautiful; however, the whole phrase is needed to fully describe the flowers.

Adjectives and suffixes

Some words exist independently as adjectives and do not exist in any other word class, for example:

  • Good
  • Bad
  • Ugly

Other adjectives are formed from nouns by adding a suffix, for example:

  • home → homeless
  • hope → hopeful

Adjectives may also be formed from verbs by adding a suffix, for example:

read → readable

create → creative

The suffix at the end of a word can often indicate the class that a word belongs to.

Here is a list of suffixes that are common for adjectives:

-ible, -ableGullible, comfortable
-fulBeautiful, skilful
-yFunny, dirty, sunny
-lessPowerless, homeless
-ousDangerous, nervous
-someTiresome, wholesome
-iveSensitive, supportive
-ishFoolish, selfish
-alSocial, accidental

Adjective - key takeaways


What is the adjective of enough? ›

Enough is an adjective that describes something that is adequate for an intended purpose. Enough is also used as an adverb to mean sufficiently or fully. Enough also has senses as a pronoun and an interjection. Enough describes something as being adequate or sufficient.

What is the example of enough? ›

We normally only use enough of when it is followed by a determiner or a pronoun (a/an/the, this/that, my/your/his, you/them, etc.). There isn't enough of that bread to make sandwiches for everyone. I've seen enough of his work to be able to recommend him. There's enough of us to make a difference.

What is adjective with example and definition? ›

An adjective is a word that describes the traits, qualities, or number of a noun. What are examples of adjectives? Descriptive words like “beautiful,” “smooth,” or “heavy” are all adjectives, as are numbers ( “twelve eggs”).

What is the full meaning of enough? ›

1. : in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction : sufficiently. : fully, quite.

Has enough meaning? ›

If you say that you have had enough, you mean that you are unhappy with a situation and you want it to stop.

Is enough adjective of number? ›

Adjectives of quantity are generally used with uncountable nouns. These adjectives express the approximate amount of the nouns rather than the exact number. Many, much, some, several, few, and enough are some examples of adjectives of quantity.

Why do we use enough? ›

Enough is a determiner, a pronoun or an adverb. We use enough to mean 'as much as we need or want'.

What is enough and too? ›

Remember that 'too' means that it's more than the necessary amount. 'Enough' is the necessary amount, it's the exact amount. And 'not enough' is less than the necessary amount.

Is not Enough example? ›

The phrase “not enough” is obviously a negative form of that – and it shows that things are not satisfactory! For example: “There is not enough bread for the entire group to eat.” It is usually used to indicate that the level is less than satisfactory – it would not be used if it was in excess.

What is an adjective Class 7 Example? ›

Definition of Adjective

A word which is used with a noun or a pronoun to describe it (description may be of its type, place, number or amount) is known as an Adjective. Now, look at following sentences. Ramesh is intelligent. An intelligent boy won the quiz.

What is an adjective class 8? ›

Hint: An adjective is a term that gives details about a noun. It is used to "describe" or "modify" a noun. Examples of adjectives are: good, large, wonderful, smart, nice, bad, happy, fast etc. Complete answer: A word that qualifies a noun or a pronoun is called an adjective.

Which is enough for me meaning? ›

Sufficient to suit one's needs without needing to be perfect. I hope these snacks are good enough for our guests. This dress is good enough for me—I don't need anything fancy. See also: enough, for, good.

Can get enough of meaning? ›

to like something very much and want a lot of it.

What is the meaning of I'm enough? ›

“I am enough” means to accept your flaws whole-heartedly. Without self-acceptance, you will always be struggling with your identity. But when you know you are enough, you can finally be at peace with your flaws, imperfections, and mistakes.

Would not be enough meaning? ›

DEFINITIONS1. used for saying that someone or something has or does not have enough of a quality to be or do something.

Is enough a adjective or adverb? ›

Enough means “the necessary amount.” It can be used as an adjective and it can also be used as an adverb.

What are the 10 examples of adjective of number? ›

Indefinite numeral adjectives: Some, few, many, all, no, several, any, most, more, too, much, none, too many, certain, and so on are examples of indefinite numeral adjectives. Distributive numeral adjectives: Each, every, neither, either, and so on.

Is enough an adverb of degree? ›

'Enough' can be used as an adverb or a determiner. When it's used as an adverb, 'enough' means 'to a necessary degree'. In a sentence, it's placed after the adjective or adverb that it modifies - not before it like other adverbs do. You can use 'enough' to express something in a positive or negative way.

What adverb is enough? ›

Resources for learning English
Adverb of degreeModifyingExample
almostverbShe has almost finished.
veryadverbShe is running very fast.
tooadverbYou are walking too slowly.
enoughadverbYou are running fast enough.
3 more rows

How do you use too and enough examples? ›

Too indicates that there is too much of a quality, or too much or too many of some object. Enough means that there is no need for more of a quality or object.
Here are some examples:
  1. She's too sad these days. ...
  2. I don't have enough sugar. ...
  3. You're driving too slowly!
  4. There are too many students in this class.
6 Mar 2019

What does Woman Enough mean? ›

If you say that a woman is woman enough to do something, you mean that she has the necessary courage or ability to do it. She is woman enough to maintain her own identity. See full dictionary entry for woman.

How do you use not enough? ›

We use not enough + noun to mean less than we want or need of something. There aren't enough chairs for everyone. We haven't got enough money.

What is enough antonym? ›

Sense: Adjective: as much as necessary or desirable

Synonyms: sufficient , suitable , ample , adequate , abundant, acceptable , satisfactory , full , complete , replete, plentiful, copious, satisfying, bounteous, lavish , aplenty. Antonyms: inadequate, insufficient, unsatisfactory, deficient.

What word means not enough? ›

inadequate. adjectivedefective, insufficient, incompetent. bare. barren.

What does enough enough mean? ›

Phrase. enough is enough. One should be satisfied; nothing additional is required.

What are adjectives give 15 examples? ›

Examples of adjectives
  • They live in a beautiful house.
  • Lisa is wearing a sleeveless shirt today. This soup is not edible.
  • She wore a beautiful dress.
  • He writes meaningless letters.
  • This shop is much nicer.
  • She wore a beautiful dress.
  • Ben is an adorable baby.
  • Linda's hair is gorgeous.

What are adjectives give 5 examples? ›

Adjectives are words that are used to describe or modify nouns or pronouns. For example, red, quick, happy, and obnoxious are adjectives because they can describe things—a red hat, the quick rabbit, a happy duck, an obnoxious person.

What are adjective 25 examples? ›

25 Most Common Adjectives
  • good.
  • new.
  • first.
  • last.
  • long.
  • great.
  • little.
  • own.

What is adjective its types? ›

The different types of adjectives are: Possessive Adjectives. Interrogative Adjectives. Demonstrative Adjectives. Compound Adjectives.

What are the 4 types of adjective? ›

There are a total of 8 types of Adjectives in English grammar namely Descriptive adjective, Numeral adjective, Quantitative adjective, Demonstrative adjective, Interrogative adjective, Possessive adjective, Proper adjective, and Exclamatory adjective.

How good is good enough meaning? ›

adequately good for the circumstances. “if it's good enough for you it's good enough for me” Synonyms: good. having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified.

What's the meaning of be man enough? ›

to be brave enough to do something: He was man enough to admit he had made a mistake. Brave and courageous. adventurous. adventurously.

Is more than enough meaning? ›

Adjective. Being plentiful or more than enough in quantity. Being over and above what is necessary, or what must be used or reserved. Noun. An excessive amount of something.

Is English easy to learn? ›

There are 1.5 billion English language learners and 527 million native English speakers worldwide, meaning that approximately a quarter of the global population has at least some familiarity with English. Despite its importance in global affairs and commerce, English is an immensely difficult language to learn.

Why do I not speak loud enough? ›

Reasons people may speak in a quiet voice. A quiet voice may have a physical explanation. Many soft-spoken people will also tell you the issue is tied into feelings of shyness, poor self-confidence, and other psychological factors. A mix of the two is also common.

How can speak English? ›

7 tips on speaking English fluently and confidently
  1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Your goal is to deliver a message, not speak perfect English, with the right grammar and vocabulary. ...
  2. Practise, practise, practise. Practice makes perfect. ...
  3. Listen. ...
  4. Celebrate success.

Is enough a noun or adjective? ›

The word enough can be used as an adjective, an adverb or with a noun. It can even be used as a pronoun.

What do we use the adjective enough to for? ›

When enough is used as an adjective, it modifies a noun. The adjective enough goes before the noun it modifies. I have bought enough eggs. (NOT I have bought eggs enough.

What are the other words for enough? ›

synonyms for enough
  • abundant.
  • adequate.
  • ample.
  • full.
  • sufficient.
  • suitable.
  • bellyful.
  • acceptable.

What does not enough mean? ›

The phrase “not enough” is obviously a negative form of that – and it shows that things are not satisfactory! For example: “There is not enough bread for the entire group to eat.” It is usually used to indicate that the level is less than satisfactory – it would not be used if it was in excess.

Where do you put enough in a sentence? ›

Answer: Place enough after an adjective or adverb, but before a noun. Margaret isn't well enough to attend. The restaurant didn't have enough staff.

Where is the word enough from? ›

enough (adj.)

1300, from Old English genog "sufficient in quantity or number," from Proto-Germanic compound *ganog "sufficient" (source also of Old Saxon ginog, Old Frisian enoch, Dutch genoeg, Old High German ginuog, German genug, Old Norse gnogr, Gothic ganohs).

What is too and enough? ›

Remember that 'too' means that it's more than the necessary amount. 'Enough' is the necessary amount, it's the exact amount. And 'not enough' is less than the necessary amount.

How do you use too and enough example with suitable example? ›

Too indicates that there is too much of a quality, or too much or too many of some object. Enough means that there is no need for more of a quality or object.
Here are some examples:
  1. She's too sad these days. ...
  2. I don't have enough sugar. ...
  3. You're driving too slowly!
  4. There are too many students in this class.
6 Mar 2019

What means enough already? ›

phrase​mainly American​spoken. DEFINITIONS1. used for saying that you want something to stop. Enough already!

What is more than enough called? ›

Some common synonyms of plentiful are abundant, ample, and copious. While all these words mean "more than sufficient without being excessive," plentiful implies a great or rich supply. peaches are plentiful this summer.


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