Describing the world: Adjectives

Adjectives are words that help describe qualities or the state of being of nouns (and pronouns). Their main job is to qualify the properties of nouns or the object being discussed.

Some examples are: crazy, helpful, good, bad, beautiful, stylish etc.

They can also explain the quantity of a noun, for example, thousand, few, little, lots, billion.

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Adjectives are used to tell us what kind of something we may want, how many or how much of something we may want or which thing you may like to have.

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs.

Three and little are modifying pigs.

Sometimes, when we use adjectives together, we must separate them with a conjunction or a comma.

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


Adjectives are of three types:

  1. Descriptive/ Absolute
  2. Comparative
  3. Superlative

Descriptive/ Absolute:

Nouns are modified or their properties described, using an adjective. We must remember that adjectives are never used to modify or describe verbs and adverbs.

  • 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.

The adjectives used above are easily identified, as they are placed before the nouns they describe or modify.

Adjectives are also able to do a lot more. 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 boy sure is happy.
  • It smells gross in the toilet.
  • Driving is faster than running.


Comparative Adjectives, as the name suggests, compares the 2 or more nouns. For most one or two syllable nouns, just a simple -er suffix is enough (Just -r for nouns that end with e) to form the comparative form of an adjective. For two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, replace -y with -ier. For multi-syllable adjectives, we must add the word more. Comparative Adjectives must be followed by ‘than’ while explaining, as it would be incomplete without the same.

  • A big boat
  • messy room
  • A nervous cat
  • Fabulous squirrels

The comparative versions of the same are:

  • A bigger boat
  • messier room
  • more nervous cat
  • More fabulous squirrels


Superlative adjectives are those adjectives that indicate and describe the qualities at the highest degree for a noun.

They must always be preceded by ‘the’, as it talks about the noun with the highest degree of adjective that describes it.

For most one or two syllable nouns, just a simple -est suffix is enough (Just -st for nouns that end with e) to form the comparative form of an adjective. For two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, replace -y with -iest. For multi-syllable adjectives, we must add the word most.

The superlative versions of the same are:

  • The biggest boat
  • The messiest room
  • The most nervous cat
  • The Most fabulous squirrels

Years of learning by rote and simply memorizing grammar can actually do more harm than good. This is easily avoidable if one practices not from memory but with a better understanding of the concepts. To understand and practice English and Public Speaking in a new way, join us at Pep Talk India! Revolution is Here!

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