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  • Writer's pictureKat Taylor

How to identify and use adjectives: Examples, tips, and common mistakes to avoid

A board with the text "Make this day great" is an example of how an adjective (great) is used to describe the quality of the noun (day).

What is an adjective

An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun by providing more information about its qualities or characteristics. They can help to make writing more vivid and engaging by adding detail and specificity to descriptions. Adjectives can describe various attributes such as size, colour, shape, age, and more. For example, in the sentence "The beautiful sunset painted the sky with vibrant colours", the adjectives "beautiful" and "vibrant" provide additional information about the sunset and the colours.


Different types of adjectives

Different types of adjectives include descriptive adjectives, which describe the qualities of a noun (e.g. beautiful, tall), demonstrative adjectives, which point out specific nouns (e.g. this, that), possessive adjectives, which show ownership or possession (e.g. my, his), and comparative/superlative adjectives, which compare different degrees of a quality (e.g. faster, fastest).

How to use adjectives in your writing

Adjectives can be used in different positions within a sentence. They can come before a noun (attributive position), after a linking verb (predicate position), or after a noun to provide additional information (postpositive position). For example, in the sentence "She wore a red dress", the adjective "red" comes before the noun "dress" in the attributive position. In the sentence "The flowers are beautiful", the adjective "beautiful" comes after the linking verb "are" in the predicate position.

To use adjectives properly, it is important to consider the context in which they are being used and to choose adjectives that provide relevant and specific information about the noun or pronoun they are describing. Adjectives can help to create a more vivid and detailed picture in the reader's mind, so it is important to select adjectives that enhance the overall meaning and tone of the sentence.

Common mistakes

One common mistake writers often make when using adjectives is overusing them or using them incorrectly. It is important to choose adjectives that accurately describe the noun or pronoun they are modifying and to avoid using too many in a single sentence, as this can make writing sound cluttered or confusing. Another common mistake is using adjectives that do not agree in number or gender with the noun they are describing. Adjectives should match the noun they modify in terms of singular/plural form and gender.

In summary, adjectives help to provide additional information and detail about nouns and pronouns. By using adjectives effectively and appropriately, writers can create more engaging and descriptive sentences. Remember to choose adjectives that accurately describe the noun or pronoun, avoid overusing adjectives, and ensure that adjectives agree in number and gender with the words they modify.


Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash


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