An adjective is a part of speech that describes or modifies a noun or a pronoun.
Adjectives describe the quality/features/quantity of the noun in the sentence. Adjectives give additional information about the noun in the sentence. It can modify the noun to denote quality, to indicate its quantity, order or extent, or can act as a complementing verb (action word).
1. She had a beautiful dress in her closet.
In this statement, the noun (dress) is described by the adjective (beautiful).
Here, the adjective has been used to define the quality of the dress.
In this statement, the noun (dress) is described by the adjective (silky).
Here, the adjective has been used to define the feature of the dress.
In this statement, the noun (dress) is described by the adjective (eight).
Here, the adjective has been used to define the quantity of the dress.
An adjective not only describes a noun but can also act as a complementing verb. Adjective in the first position, before the noun is called an attributive adjective. Adjectives, when used after the noun as a verb, is called a predicative adjective.
1. The excited child ran towards us --->The adjective "excited" is used before the noun(child).
2. The child was excited and ran towards us --->The adjective "excited" is used after the noun(child), as a verb.
In the first sentence, "excited" is used attributively (used before the noun) and in the second, predicatively (used after the noun, as a verb).
Adjectives from the lesson "A Different Kind of School":
1. Responsible citizens
2. A large garden
3. Beautiful grounds
4. Jolly children
5. Hopeless cripple
6. Thoughtless child
7. A tall girl
8. A pink blouse
9. An old man
10. The best helpers
When you notice the above examples, the noun is described by a single adjective. Hence, there is only one rule that has been followed there. "Adjectives come before their corresponding nouns".
However, what happens when there are more than one kind of adjectives for the same noun? Can you simply put the adjectives in any order? No! There is a specific order to be followed.
Let us learn more about the order in the rest of the chapter.
Order of Adjectives
Nouns can be modified by more than one adjective. A specific order is followed while placing the adjectives. They should appear in the following order:
quantity: (e.g.) any number such as 6 or 30, or words such as many, a lot, half, etc
opinion:(e.g.) tasty, terrible, friendly, smart, etc
size: (e.g.) big, small, large, gigantic, tiny, etc
age: (e.g.) old, new, young, etc
colour: (e.g.) red, blue. black, green, etc
shape: (e.g.) angular, flat, oval, etc
origin: (e.g.) American, Indian, Western, etc
material: (e.g.) glass, iron, gold, steel, plastic, etc
purpose: often a noun ending with "ing". (e.g.) the word "sleeping" in sleeping bag. The words in "dining" table, "sports" car, etc. are some of the other examples.
Let us take the phrase "a big black box" for an example. The adjectives are arranged according to the above rule. Since the "size" comes before "colour", it is "a big black box" instead of "black big box".
Order of adjectives from the lesson "A Different Kind of School":
1. Blue cotton skirt: The word "blue" is a colour, and the word "cotton" is a material. These adjectives describe the noun "skirt".
2. Curly red hair: The word "curly" refers to the texture of the hair. Hence, it is an opinion. The word "red" is a colour.
3. One poor little girl: The word "one" is a number, hence "quantity".The word "poor" is an opinion and the word "little" refers to the girl's age.
4. A plump middle-aged woman: The word "plump" describes the woman's size and the word "middle-aged" describes her age.
The words such a, an, the, both, etc. are called determiners. They always appear at the beginning. The noun, on the other hand, always comes in the end.