Pankaj Mittal



Adjectives are words that describe the qualities or states of being of nouns: enormous, doglike, silly, yellow, fun, fast. They can also describe the quantity of nouns: many, few, millions, eleven.


There are many different adjective endings including “-ive,” “-ous,” “-y,” “-ful,” “-ent” and many others. “Attractive,” “envious,” “lazy,” “beautiful,” and “intelligent” are all adjectives.

Adjectives Modify Nouns

Most students learn that adjectives are words that modify (describe) nouns. Adjectives do not modify verbs or adverbs or other adjectives.

Margot wore a beautiful hat to the pie-eating contest.
Furry dogs may overheat in the summertime.
My cake should have sixteen candles.
The scariest villain of all time is Darth Vader.

In the sentences above, the adjectives are easy to spot because they come immediately before the nouns they modify.

But adjectives can do more than just modify nouns. They can also act as a complement to linking verbs or the verb to be. A linking verb is a verb like to feel, to seem, or to taste that describes a state of being or a sensory experience.

That cow sure is happy.
It smells gross in the locker room.
Driving is faster than walking.

The technical term for an adjective used this way is predicate adjective.

Uses of Adjectives

Adjectives tell the reader how much—or how many—of something you’re talking about, which thing you want passed to you, or which kind of something you want.

Please use three white flowers in the arrangement.

Three and white are modifying flowers.

Often, when adjectives are used together, you should separate them with a comma or conjunction. See “Coordinate Adjectives” below for more detail.

I’m looking for a small, good-tempered dog to keep as a pet.
My new dog is small and good-tempered.


Adjectives can be used to modify nouns.


  • Jack drives a big car.
  • Sally writes beautiful poems.


Adjectives often follow linking verbs (described below).


  • Max is tall.
  • Sandra seems mad.

Degrees of Comparison

Adjectives come in three forms: absolute, comparative, and superlative. Absolute adjectives describe something in its own right.

cool guy
messy desk
mischievous cat
Garrulous squirrels

Comparative adjectives, unsurprisingly, make a comparison between two or more things. For most one-syllable adjectives, the comparative is formed by adding the suffix -er (or just -r if the adjective already ends with an e). For two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, replace -y with -ier. For multi-syllable adjectives, add the word more.

cooler guy
messier desk
more mischievous cat
More garrulous squirrels

Superlative adjectives indicate that something has the highest degree of the quality in question. One-syllable adjectives become superlatives by adding the suffix -est (or just -st for adjectives that already end in e). Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y replace -y with -iest. Multi-syllable adjectives add the word most. When you use an article with a superlative adjective, it will almost always be the definite article (the) rather than a or an. Using a superlative inherently indicates that you are talking about a specific item or items.

The coolest guy
The messiest desk
The most mischievous cat
The most garrulous squirrels

Coordinate Adjectives

Coordinate adjectives should be separated by a comma or the word and. Adjectives are said to be coordinate if they modify the same noun in a sentence.

This is going to be a long, cold winter.
Isobel’s dedicated and tireless efforts made all the difference.

But just the fact that two adjectives appear next to each other doesn’t automatically mean they are coordinate. Sometimes, an adjective and a noun form a single semantic unit, which is then modified by another adjective. In this case, the adjectives are not coordinate and should not be separated by a comma.

My cat, Goober, loves sleeping on this tattered woolen sweater.
No one could open the old silver locket.

In some cases, it’s pretty hard to decide whether two adjectives are coordinate or not. But there are a couple of ways you can test them. Try inserting the word and between the adjectives to see if the phrase still seems natural. In the first sentence, “this tattered and woolen sweater” doesn’t sound right because you really aren’t talking about a sweater that is both tattered and woolen. It’s a woolen sweater that is tatteredWoolen sweater forms a unit of meaning that is modified by tattered.

Another way to test for coordinate adjectives is to try switching the order of the adjectives and seeing if the phrase still works. In the second sentence, you wouldn’t say “No one could open the silver old locket.” You can’t reverse the order of the adjectives because silver locket is a unit that is modified by old. 

Examples of Adjectives

To Describe Taste

Bitter Lemon-flavored Spicy
Bland Minty Sweet
Delicious Pickled Tangy
Fruity Salty Tasty
Gingery Sour Yummy

To Describe Touch

Boiling Fluffy Sharp
Breezy Freezing Silky
Bumpy Fuzzy Slick
Chilly Greasy Slimy
Cold Hard Slippery
Cool Hot Smooth
Cuddly Icy Soft
Damp Loose Solid
Dirty Melted Sticky
Dry Painful Tender
Dusty Prickly Tight
Encrusted Rough Uneven
Filthy Shaggy Warm
Flaky Shaky Wet

To Describe Sound

Blaring Melodic Screeching
Deafening Moaning Shrill
Faint Muffled Silent
Hoarse Mute Soft
High-pitched Noisy Squealing
Hissing Purring Squeaking
Hushed Quiet Thundering
Husky Raspy Voiceless
Loud Resonant Whispering

To Describe Color

Azure Gray Pinkish
Black Green Purple
Blue Indigo Red
Bright Lavender Rosy
Brown Light Scarlet
Crimson Magenta Silver
Dark Multicolored Turquoise
Drab Mustard Violet
Dull Orange White
Gold Pink Yellow

To Describe Size

Abundant Jumbo Puny
Big-boned Large Scrawny
Chubby Little Short
Fat Long Small
Giant Majestic Tall
Gigantic Mammoth Teeny
Great Massive Thin
Huge Miniature Tiny
Immense Petite Vast

To Describe Shape

Blobby Distorted Rotund
Broad Flat Round
Chubby Fluffy Skinny
Circular Globular Square
Crooked Hollow Steep
Curved Low Straight
Cylindrical Narrow Triangular
Deep Oval Wide

To Describe Time

Annual Futuristic Rapid
Brief Historical Regular
Daily Irregular Short
Early Late Slow
Eternal Long Speed
Fast Modern Speedy
First Old Swift
Fleet Old-fashioned Waiting
Future Quick Young

To Describe an Amount

All Heavy One
Ample Hundreds Paltry
Astronomical Large Plentiful
Bountiful Light Profuse
Considerable Limited Several
Copious Little Sizable
Countless Many Some
Each Measly Sparse
Enough Mere Substantial
Every Multiple Teeming
Few Myriad Ten
Full Numerous Very

To Describe an Emotion

Abrasive Embarrassed Grumpy
Abrupt Energetic Kind
Afraid Enraged Lazy
Agreeable Enthusiastic Lively
Aggressive Envious Lonely
Amiable Evil Lucky
Amused Excited Mad
Angry Exhausted Manic
Annoyed Exuberant Mysterious
Ashamed Fair Nervous
Bad Faithful Obedient
Bitter Fantastic Obnoxious
Bewildered Fierce Outrageous
Boring Fine Panicky
Brave Foolish Perfect
Callous Frantic Persuasive
Calm Friendly Pleasant
Calming Frightened Proud
Charming Funny Quirky
Cheerful Furious Relieved
Combative Gentle Repulsive
Comfortable Glib Rundown
Defeated Glorious Sad
Confused Good Scary
Cooperative Grateful Selfish
Courageous Grieving Silly
Cowardly Gusty Splendid
Crabby Gutless Successful
Creepy Happy Tedious
Cross Healthy Tense
Cruel Heinous Terrible
Dangerous Helpless Thankful
Defeated Hilarious Thoughtful
Defiant Hungry Thoughtless
Delightful Hurt Tired
Depressed Hysterical Troubled
Determined Immoral Upset
Disgusted Impassioned Weak
Disturbed Indignant Weary
Eager Irate Wicked
Elated Itchy Worried
Embarrassed Jealous Zany
Enchanting Jolly Zealous

To Describe a Person or Personality

Aggressive Famous Restless
Agoraphobic Fearless Rich
Ambidextrous Fertile Righteous
Ambitious Fragile Ritzy
Amoral Frank Romantic
Angelic Functional Rustic
Brainy Gabby Ruthless
Breathless Generous Sassy
Busy Gifted Secretive
Calm Helpful Sedate
Capable Hesitant Shy
Careless Innocent Sleepy
Cautious Inquisitive Somber
Cheerful Insane Stingy
Clever Jaunty Stupid
Common Juicy Super
Complete Macho Swanky
Concerned Manly Tame
Crazy Modern Tawdry
Curious Mushy Terrific
Dead Naughty Testy
Deep Odd Uninterested
Delightful Old Vague
Determined Open Verdant
Different Outstanding Vivacious
Diligent Perky Wacky
Energetic Poor Wandering
Erratic Powerful Wild
Evil Puzzled Womanly
Exuberant Real Wrong

To Describe Appearance

Ablaze Distinct Quirky
Adorable Drab Ruddy
Alluring Dull Shiny
Attractive Elegant Skinny
Average Embarrassed Sloppy
Awkward Fancy Smiling
Balanced Fat Sparkling
Beautiful Filthy Spotless
Blonde Glamorous Strange
Bloody Gleaming Tacky
Blushing Glossy Tall
Bright Graceful Thin
Clean Grotesque Ugly
Clear Handsome Unattractive
Cloudy Homely Unbecoming
Clumsy Interior Uncovered
Colorful Lovely Unsightly
Confident Magnificent Unusual
Cracked Murky Watery
Crooked Old-fashioned Weird
Crushed Plain Wild
Curly Poised Wiry
Cute Pretty Wooden
Debonair Puffy Worried
Dirty Quaint Zaftig

To Describe Situations

Accidental Doubtful Main
Achievable Elementary Minor
Advantageous Finger-printed Nasty
Alcoholic Groundless Nutritious
Animated Hard Obsolete
Aquatic Harmful Optimal
Aromatic High Organic
Aspiring Honest Premium
Bad Horrible Quizzical
Bawdy Illegal Rainy
Biographical Illegible Redundant
Bizarre Imperfect Remarkable
Broken Impossible Simple
Careful Internal Tangible
Credible Inventive Tricky
Creepy Jazzy Wholesale
Cumbersome Juvenile Worse
Disastrous Legal Wry
Dismissive Logical X-rated

Now let’s Do some practice 🙂

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