Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes, identifies, modifies, or quantifies something (a noun or a pronoun). In the phrase, “the black cat” the word black is an adjective because it describes the cat.

In English, an adjective usually comes before the noun it pertains to (for example, a red apple or a cute cat.).

Adjectives can be classified into many categories. In English, adjectives are generally used in the order: quantity–>opinion–>size–>age–>shape–>color–>origin–>material–>purpose. Some of these categories are (roughly in the order in which adjectives are used in English):

  • quantity – few, no, one, two, three, four, several, many, all, some, every, each, …
  • opinion – good, better, best, bad, worse, worst, mediocre, awful, fantastic, pretty, ugly, clean, dirty, wasteful, difficult, comfortable, valuable, worthless, useful, useless, important, evil, angelic, rare, scarce, poor, rich, lovely, disgusting, amazing, surprising, loathesome, unusual, usual, pointless, …
  • personality/emotion – happy, sad, excited, scared, frightened, outgoing, funny, sad, zany, grumpy, cheerful, jolly, carefree, quick-witted, blissful, lonely, elated, …
  • sound – loud, soft, silent, vociferous, screaming, shouting, thunderous, blaring, quiet, noisy, talkative, rowdy, deafening, faint, muffled, mute, speechless, whispered, hushed, …
  • taste – sweet, sour, acidic, bitter, salty, tasty, delicious, savory, delectable, yummy, bland, tasteless, palatable, yummy, luscious, appetizing, tasteless, spicy, watery, …
  • touch – hard, soft, silky, velvety, bumpy, smooth, grainy, coarse, pitted, irregular, scaly, polished, glossy, lumpy, wiry, scratchy, rough, glassy, …
  • size, weight – heavy, light, big, small, tiny, tall, short, fat, thin, slender, willowy, lean, svelte, scrawny, skeletal, underweight, lanky, wide, enormous, huge, vast, great, gigantic, monstrous, mountainous, jumbo, wee, dense, weighty, slim, trim, hulking, hefty, giant, plump, tubby, obese, portly, …
  • smell – perfumed, acrid, putrid, burnt, smelly, reeking, noxious, pungent, aromatic, fragrant, scented, musty, sweet-smelling,…
  • speed – quick, fast, slow, speeding, rushing, bustling, rapid, snappy, whirlwind, swift, hasty, prompt, brief, …
  • temperature – hot, cold, freezing, icy, frigid, sweltering, wintry, frosty, frozen, nippy, chilly, sizzling, scalding, burning, feverish, fiery, steaming, …
  • age – young, old, baby, babyish, teenage, ancient, antique, old-fashioned, youthful, elderly, mature, adolescent, infantile, bygone, recent, modern, …
  • distance – short, long, far, distant, nearby, close, faraway, outlying, remote, far-flung, neighboring, handy, …
  • shape – round, circular, square, triangular, oval, sleek, blobby, flat, rotund, globular, spherical, wavy, straight, cylindrical, oblong, elliptical, zigzag, squiggly, crooked, winding, serpentine, warped, distorted, …
  • miscellaneous qualities– full, empty, wet, dry, open, closed , ornate, …
  • brightness – light, dark, bright, shadowy, drab, radiant, shining, pale, dull, glowing, shimmering, luminous, gleaming, …
  • color – pink, red, orange, yellowish, dark-green, blue, purple, black, white, gray, brown, tanned, pastel, …
  • time – early, late, morning, night, evening, everlasting, initial, first, last, overdue, belated, long-term, delayed, punctual, …
  • origin/location – lunar, northern, oceanic, polar, equatorial, Floridian, American, Spanish, Canadian, Mexican, French, Irish, English, Australian, …
  • material – glass, wooden, cloth, concrete, fabric, cotton, plastic, leather, ceramic, china, metal, steel, …
  • purpose – folding, swinging, work, racing, cooking, sleeping, dance, rolling, walking, …

Example of the Sequence of Multiple Adjectives in Chart Form:

QUANTITY OPINION SIZE AGE SHAPE COLOR ORIGIN MATERIAL PURPOSE NOUN
five huge young black Canadian bears
battered old shapeless gray cotton work pants
many magnificent antique British reference books
one studious teenaged American boy
few shiny round blue Indian gems
many well-made tiny elongated brown wooden fishing boats
several cheap large purple polyester sleeping bags

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