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What are Adjectives

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What Are Adjectives?

Adjectives are the way that we describe our world. They can directly tell, allude to, or hint at the nuances in life. They express the wonder of life, and give meaning to the nouns to which we attach them. They are the chunky, sweet jam on our toast sentences, the sprinkled, swirled icing on our word cupcakes.

Learning how to use adjectives seems to come naturally to most, but there are some great ways to help increase your children’s adjective vocabulary. Let’s jump into the basics of descriptive language and begin your adjective journey!

What Is an Adjective?

An adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun - a person, place, or thing. It can modify a noun or a pronoun by giving it more meaning, a description.

What Do Adjectives Do?

Gather Information

They tell us more information about a person, place, or thing!

Age? Young adults go to high school.

Color? My purple coat keeps me warm.

Material? My computer is in the leather bag.

Origin? The Irish setter barks at night.

Opinion? That’s a horrible taste!

Observation? The broken doorbell doesn’t ring.

Purpose? Mom’s coffee mug needs to be cleaned.

Size? The huge tree shades the picnic.

Shape? The box is rectangular.

Answer Questions

Adjectives help us answer more specific questions, like “How many?” or “What kind?” or “Which one?”

How many points did he score? He scored twelve points.

What kind of books do you like? I like picture books.

Which shoes do you like best? The sequined shoes are my favorite.

Where Can I Find Adjectives in a Sentence?

Where a word appears and what it’s doing in the sentence are two clues to identifying an adjective. They only appear in certain places and always give more information.

Use the following chart to sleuth out an adjective:
Description Word Type Adjective Word Type Examples
Before a Noun-AdjectiveNoungreen tree
white egg
red balloon
Between an Article & a NounArticle
a - an - the
AdjectiveNouna shiny ring
an orange hat
the huge cat
Between a Possessive & a NounPossessive
my - your - his - her - our - their
AdjectiveNounher black dog
their messy room
Jordan’s rusted bike
Between a Demonstrative & a NounDemonstrative
this - that - these - those
AdjectiveNounthis rocky road
those colorful cupcakes
Between an Amount Word & a NounAmount Word
all - few - most - some
AdjectiveNounall young women
most boring subjects
ComplementSubject“to be” verbAdjectiveHe is funny.
They are tired.
Our house is small.
Now that you have the basics for working with adjectives, you should be able to spice up your descriptions so that your reader or listener can understand more clearly what you’ve experienced from your senses.

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