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ADJECTIVES

Adjectives are words that describe or modify other words, making your writing and
speaking much more specific, and a whole lot more interesting. Words like small, blue,
and sharp are descriptive, and they are all examples of adjectives. Because adjectives are used
to identify or quantify individual people and unique things, they are usually positioned before
the noun or pronoun that they modify. Some sentences contain multiple adjectives.

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS AND ADJECTIVES


Person

Pronoun

Adjective

1st singular

mine

my

2nd

yours

your

3rd (female)

hers

her

3rd (male)

his

his

3rd (neutral)

its

its

1st plural

ours

our

3rd plural

theirs

their

2. Using Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives


A possessive pronoun is used instead of a noun:
Julie's car is red. Mine is blue.
A possessive adjective is usually used to describe a noun, and it comes before it, like other
adjectives:
My car is bigger than her car.
Remember:
There are no apostrophes in possessive pronouns and adjectives.
The dog wagged its tail.
It's is not a possessive pronoun or adjective it means it is:
It's not my dog.

Examples of possessive adjectives in a sentence:


1) My book is on the table.
2) I think you forgot your purse.
3) The dog buried its bone.
4) The girls missed their bus.
5) Joey left his bat at home.

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN AS ADJECTIVE


Defining a Demonstrative Adjective
As mentioned earlier, the four demonstrative adjectives are this, that, these and those. They are
adjectives because they modify nouns. That means they come before nouns in a sentence. For
example:

Is this book yours or mine?

Did you finally throw away that old t-shirt?

These shoes smell disgusting.

I told you those old magazines were a fire hazard.

Demonstrative adjectives indicate exactly which noun the speaker means and where it is (or they
are) relative to the position of the speaker.

If the noun in question is nearby, he uses this (singular) or these (plural).

If the noun is out of the speakers reach, he uses that (singular) or those (plural).

Then he always follows the demonstrative with any other accompanying adjectives in their
proper order and finally, the noun.
So what is a demonstrative pronoun? Its a single demonstrative word that takes the place of a
noun, a noun phrase, a string of noun phrases, an activity, or a situation in both written and
spoken English.

INDEFINITE PRONOUN AS ADJECTIVE


When these pronouns are used right before nouns, they are acting as adjectives, not pronouns.
Remember that pronouns take the place of nouns and adjectives describe the noun.
Example: Both flowers are lovely.
Both is telling us about the subject flowers. It is not taking the place of flowers. It is modifying it.
Because of this, it is acting as an adjective.

The most common indefinite adjectives are any, each, everything, all, everyone, someone,
both, none, few, many, much, most, several, and some.

PROPER ADJECTIVE
You probably are familiar with proper noun: the special nouns in the English language that are
privileged enough to have their first letter capitalized. These are the nouns that refer to specific
things, places, or people. For example, writer is a regular noun, but Shakespeare is a proper
noun.
The noun country is regular, but Canada is a proper noun. Now, proper nouns are in fact the
origins for proper adjectives. If Shakespeare is the proper noun, Shakespearian is the proper
adjective. If Canada is the proper noun, Canadian is the proper adjective. Just like proper nouns,
proper adjectives are capitalized, too.
Proper Adjectives Are Succinct
Sometimes, proper adjectives are used to explicitly and directly describe something. This is like
any adjective that describes a noun, but this is a much more specific technique. Using our
original two examples, it is much more succinct to write, The Shakespearian play Hamlet is
than to write The play Hamlet, which was written by Shakespeare, is so writers tend to prefer
to use the first option. Similarly, The Canadian prime minister is a much more concise way of
writing The prime minister that is currently in office in Canada. So, the first main use is to build
our adjective vocabulary so we can accurately and describe things with adjectives related to
important proper nouns.
More Uses of Proper Adjectives
We can also use proper adjectives in a more metaphorical sense. Consider the sentence, The
tragic romance was of Shakespearian proportions, which modifies something not necessarily
Shakespearian, but gives a sense of the seriousness and intensity that another adjective might
not be able to convey to the reader.
Academics often use proper adjectives, formed from the proper names of important thinkers, to
describe and indicate certain ways of thinking and certain theories. Someones political
methodology, for example, might be Machiavellian, someones approach to philosophy might
be Orwellian or Freudian.
Examples of Proper Adjectives
Lets look at some examples that use proper adjectives to describe nouns that are of certain
cultures. The proper adjectives follow each example in parentheses.

The Chinese dumplings are the best item on the menu. (Chinese)

German chocolate cake is very rich in flavor and texture. (German)

The Japanese paper cranes are meant for good luck. (Japanese)

The African drums sounded loud in the concert hall. (African)

The Russian opera by Stravinsky is very beautiful. (Russian)

How to Make a Proper Adjective


You can make a proper adjective in several ways: take a proper noun and try adding the suffixes
ian, an, or esque. These suffixes often work when converting a proper noun into a proper
adjective. Try adding the suffixes like, ian, istic, which are also effective.
There are often established proper adjectives whose forms are known to work best in written
language, but you have probably heard an English speaker make a proper adjective up on the
spot. It might not be correct, but you certainly will understand if someone says that her bosss
actions are Hitler-ish.

PARTICIPLE ACTING AS ADJECTIVE


The participial adjectives are a major subclass of adjectives. They can be distinguished by their
endings, either ed or ing. Some exceptions to the rules include misunderstood and unknown,
which also function like these special adjectives even though they do not end in ed. They are
called participial adjectives because they have the same endings as verb participles.
Function in a Sentence
These adjectives are really meant to function like any other adjective: they help to describe a
noun. They might come from a verb form, or they might merely imitate the structure, but they
always function as a descriptive adjective. Lets look at some examples of participial adjectives in
sentences below. After each example, the adjective is placed in parentheses. Some example
sentences have more than one adjective.

The tempting cookie platter made my mouth salivate. (tempting)

The fascinating book was a thrilling read. (fascinating, thrilling)

The interesting story made a compelling point. (interesting, compelling)

Sally was bored by the conversation. (bored)

I am tired today, and my work is really tiring. (tired, tiring)

My frustrating experience at the restaurant made me angry. (frustrating)

I have been agitated long enough. (agitated)

These adjectives form a very large portion of all of the adjectives in the English language and
help us be more accurate in our description of people, places, things, and experiences when we
speak and write.
Adjectives from a Verb

You might be wondering, what is the origin of all of these adjectives? Why do we have so many of
these strange words that look like certain verb forms? Some of the participial adjectives that end
in ed have a corresponding verb form, whereas some participial adjectives do not.
In other words, some adjectives only look like they come from verbs and we still call them
participial adjectives. In this way, excite becomes excited and determine becomes
determined. However, there is no to talent that forms the participial adjective talented. It is
more common that the participial adjectives that end in ing have a corresponding verb form.
These include annoying, exasperating, worrying, thrilling, misleading, gratifying, and timeconsuming.
Words to Modify Participial Adjectives
These adjectives do not just come in one form. You can modify participial adjectives to increase
or decrease their intensity and use them to compare different nouns. This can be accomplished
by using the words very, extremely, less, or by forming comparative and superlative forms. Look
at the examples below, using the adjective annoying:

Annoying

Very annoying

Extremely annoying

Less annoying

More annoying

Most annoying

In all of these forms, annoying serves as the participial adjective but it is treated differently in
each case. Look at a few ways we can use the above treatments of annoying:

She was so annoying.

He is extremely annoying.

It was more annoying to me that he did not show up for the party.

The most annoying thing was that she did not speak up.

COMPOUND ADJECTIVE
A compound adjective is an adjective that comprises more than one word. Usually, a hyphen (or
hyphens) is used to link the words together to show that it is one adjective. For example:

Please request a four-foot table.

(Four-foot is an adjective describing table. A hyphen is used to link four andfoot to show they are
part of the same adjective.)

It is a 6-page document.

Claire worked as a part-time keeper at the safari park.

That is an all-too-common mistake.

Other examples:

far-reaching
The new law will have far-reaching effects in the economy.

time-saving
These time-saving techniques will help you work more efficiently.

forward-thinking
Some forward-thinking politicians are proposing reforms to the educational system.
ice-cold

Theres nothing better than drinking an ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

last-minute
I hate it when my boss wants to make last-minute changes to a publication.

full-length
The director produced his first full-length movie in 1998.

world-famous
We had dinner at a world-famous Italian restaurant.

fat-free
These fat-free cookies are delicious!