An adjective is a word that describes a noun and gives additional detail to the noun being defined, for example, ‘red,’ ‘cold,’ or ‘difficult.’ Read on to learn about adjectives in English, with tons of examples and more!
In this handy guide, you’ll explore what adjectives are, read about the types of adjectives, discover examples of adjectives, and find functional teacher-made materials to teach about the topic.
What is an Adjective? – With Examples for Children
What is an adjective? An adjective is also known as a describing word. An adjective usually comes before a noun to provide more detail or information about the noun it’s describing.
In most cases, an adjective will precede the noun unless particular emphasis on the adjective is needed. Adjectives can also be placed after the noun on rare occasions. When adjectives are placed after the nouns they modify, they are postpositive adjectives.
Adjectives are a necessary form of expression in descriptive writing. They provide vital details that help a reader visualize and comprehend a subject. However, there are also many different types of adjectives – all of which come with their own rules. Read on to find out more about the different types of adjectives and the adjective rules.
Examples of adjectives include:
More Detailed Adjective Examples for Children
Now that we understand what we mean when talking about adjectives let’s look at some fun examples of adjectives you can share with your students. These adjectives examples for kids can help students get a first-hand experience of how adjectives can be used in a sentence differently.
Adjectives can be used when beginning a story. You could write:
‘I had just returned from a holiday.’
It gives the reader no information about the noun ‘holiday.’ What are they supposed to think about the holiday? Was it good? Bad? Instead, you could write:
‘I had just returned from a disastrous holiday.’
In this case, the adjective ‘disastrous’ provides detail about the noun ‘holiday.’
Equally, you could write:
‘I had just returned from a wonderful holiday.’
You can see from this example that you have the beginning of two very different stories just by using another adjective.
Using adjectives effectively helps to make writing more interesting, although they should be used with care and not with every noun.
What are the Different Types of Adjectives?
Adjectives can provide further information or detail on various things, including size, shape, color, material, and amount. But it all depends on their type! So knowing these and how you can use them to express yourself and richen your writing can go a long way.
- It was a large staircase.
- The round table was full.
- The red apple looked delicious.
- The wooden chair was uncomfortable.
- There were few people left.
There are many types of adjectives, and they’re often classified in different ways. Some essential types of adjectives that children will learn to include quantitative adjectives, predicative adjectives, proper adjectives, descriptive adjectives, comparative adjectives, and superlative adjectives. Below are examples of all of these, with some more information about what each type of adjective does.
These provide the exact or approximate amount of a noun. For example:
- There were six dogs.
- There were several dogs.
This type of adjective covers the majority of adjectives, and it’s also called a qualitative adjective. They describe nouns and pronouns, giving information about their attributes. For example:
- I fed my hungry dog.
Contrary to most other types of adjectives, these come after the noun. For example:
- The sky was blue.
These adjectives are a particular form of proper nouns and usually represent a shorter version of a longer explanation. They’re also capitalized. For example, instead of saying, this coffee is made of coffee beans grown in Brazil, we can say:
- Brazilian coffee.
These can be used to compare or contrast two nouns. For example:
- Summer is hotter than winter.
These can express that a noun is of the highest or best quality and often end in -est. For example:
- She is the best football player on her team.
You can also use adverbs in writing to add more description to the events — an adverb modifies a verb (action word) concerning time, place, manner, degree, etc.
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Rules
There are several rules to follow when using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here are some comparative and superlative adjective rules in simple terms:
As mentioned above, comparative adjectives are used to compare or contrast the differences between two objects. The pattern for using comparative adjectives in sentences is:
Noun (subject) + verb + comparative adjective + than + noun (thing).
Comparative adjectives examples:
- Mrs. Johnson’s house is smaller than her sister’s.
- My dog is faster than all of the other dogs at the park.
- This diving board is higher than the others.
- My new car is larger than my previous one.
Sometimes, the second comparison item in a sentence with comparative adjectives can be omitted. It only happens when the context makes it clear what the point of comparison is. For example:
- Mary and her sister both play football, but Mary is better. (‘Than her sister’ is omitted).
- James and Elizabeth are both tall, but Elizabeth is taller. (‘Than James’ is omitted).
As mentioned above, superlative adjectives describe an object at the upper or lower quality limit. Superlative adjectives are used in sentences where a subject is compared to a group of things.
The pattern for using superlative adjectives in sentences is:
Noun (subject) + verb + the + superlative adjective + noun (object).
Superlative adjectives examples:
- George’s house is the biggest one in the whole street.
- Amy was the fastest runner in her age group.
- My essay was the longest one in the class.
- Thomas had the best singing voice in the choir.
Sometimes, the group that acts at the point of comparison can be omitted. It only happens when the point of comparison is clear from the context. For example:
- The girls all ran the same race. Becky ran the fastest. (‘Out of all the girls’ is omitted)
- Mary loves all dogs; however, she likes sausage dogs the best. (‘Out of all dogs’ is omitted)
How to Form Regular Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
There are a few essential comparative and superlative adjective rules when forming regular comparatives and superlatives. First, the formation of comparative and superlative adjectives depends on the number of syllables in the original adjectives.
To form comparative and superlative adjectives, when the original adjective has just one syllable, add ‘-er’ for the comparative and ‘-est’ for the superlative. Moreover, if the original adjective has a consonant + single vowel + consonant spelling, the final consonant in the word has to be doubled before adding the ending.
Comparative and superlative examples:
Original adjective: big
- Comparative: bigger
- Superlative: biggest.
Original adjective: small
- Comparative: smaller
- Superlative: smallest.
Original adjective: wet
- Comparative: wetter
- Superlative: wettest.
Original adjective: sad
- Comparative: sadder
- Superlative: saddest.
The comparative and superlative rules for adjectives with two syllables are pretty simple. To form the comparative, either add ‘-er’ to the adjective or place the word ‘more’ before it. Similarly, to create the superlative, add ‘-est’ to the adjective or put the word ‘most’ before it.
The only irregularity in forming two-syllable comparative and superlative adjectives is when it comes to words ending with ‘y’. Therefore, for these adjectives ending with ‘y’, you must change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ before adding the comparative or superlative ending.
Comparative and superlative examples:
Original adjective: silly
- Comparative: sillier
- Superlative: silliest.
Original adjective: shiny
- Comparative: shinier
- Superlative: shiniest.
Original adjective: slanted
- Comparative: more slanted
- Superlative: most slanted.
Original adjective: joyful
- Comparative: more joyful
- Superlative: most joyful.
Original adjective: narrow
- Comparative: narrower
- Superlative: narrowest.
Three syllables or more
When dealing with adjectives in English with three or more syllables, there are a few simple comparative and superlative adjectives rules to consider. To form the comparative, you must put the word ‘more’ in front of the adjective. Likewise, to create the superlative, you must set the word ‘most’ in front of the adjective.
Original adjective: Confident
- Comparative: more confident
- Superlative: most confident.
Original adjective: Important
- Comparative: more important
- Superlative: most important.
Original adjective: Popular
- Comparative: more popular
- Superlative: most popular.
Original adjective: Interesting
- Comparative: more interesting
- Superlative: most interesting.
Irregular Comparatives and Superlative Adjectives Rules
There are a few adjectives that have irregular comparative and superlative forms. The most common irregular adjectives in English are as follows:
Original adjective: good
- Comparative: better
- Superlative: best.
Original adjective: well (meaning healthy)
- Comparative: better
- Superlative: best.
Original adjective: far
- Comparative: further
- Superlative: furthest.
Original adjective: bad
- Comparative: worse
- Superlative: worst.
Original adjective: old (meaning people in a family)
- Comparative: elder
- Superlative: eldest.
Original adjective: little (meaning value)
- Comparative: less
- Superlative: least.
Order of Adjectives when Using them in Conjunction
When adjectives are used in conjunction, they must be presented in a particular order. While it’s not necessarily wrong to use multiple adjectives out of order, reading or hearing them seems strange. The order of adjectives in English is as follows:
- Quantity or number
- Quality or opinion
- Proper adjective (usually nationality or material)
- Purpose or qualifier
‘The wiggly, pink worm dug through the soil.’
Here, two adjectives are used in conjunction. Both come before the noun, which in this sentence is ‘worm.’ We use ‘wiggly’ first in the sentence because it is a quality. We use ‘pink’ second because it is a color.
‘A big, white butterfly flew into my house.’
In this sentence, ‘butterfly’ is the noun. We use ‘big’ first because it’s the size. We use ‘white’ second because it’s a color. Unfortunately, writing ‘the white, big butterfly’ makes less sense grammatically and is not as easy to read.
List of Adjectives in English
Adjectives are an essential part of the English language and play a key role in helping children take their writing to the next level. So, if you want to spice up your writing or make a text more engaging, you can do this by playing around with different adjectives. Here are some of the most popular adjectives in English that you and your students can use:
Examples of Advanced Adjectives
Some advanced adjectives can help to extend vocabulary and make writing sound interesting. Here are some examples: