A Guide to Using Descriptive Adjectives Properly

What would life be without adjectives, right? These are an essential part of the English language and, if used correctly, can enrich your sentences. Whether you’re new to descriptive adjectives or not, this article is for you.

Several word cut-outs that are mixed together on a table.
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

This complete guide will discuss everything that you need to know about adjectives, from their definition to how you can use them properly. By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll be a master of adjectives!

What is an Adjective?

An adjective is a word that’s used to modify a noun or a pronoun in a sentence. It basically describes or gives more information about the noun or a pronoun.

They can answer questions like “What color is the sky”? Or “How was the movie?” An adjective can also give a piece of information, like the color of a shirt or the temperature outside.

Types of Descriptive Adjectives

Simple Adjectives

Simple adjectives, as its name suggests, are simple, one-word adjectives that describe a noun. It’s easy to figure out what words are simple adjectives when you see them.

Examples of simple adjectives are dull, red, big, attractive, etc.

Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives are a type of adjective that’s made up of two or more words combined with a hyphen. They have the same functions as simple adjectives, but they are usually used to describe the quality of something.

Examples of compound adjectives are four-sided, short-tempered, ice-cold, self-centered, etc.


Examples of Descriptive Adjectives

As mentioned earlier, adjectives can describe several qualities a person or something might have. For instance, you might use the adjective “big” to describe someone as tall and muscular. You might use the adjective “beautiful” to describe a woman with long, flowing hair and brilliant blue eyes.

Here are some adjective examples used to describe a particular characteristic:

To Describe Size:

  • The stadium was huge.
  • They used a small table for the dinner party.
  • The line for the ice cream truck was very long.
  • There were tiny pieces of confetti lying on the floor.
  • The museum has a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.

To Describe Texture:

  • She has the smoothest skin.
  • The rough carpet didn’t feel nice under my feet.
  • This soft fabric is comfortable on the skin.

To Describe Color:

  • The blue skies are an incredible sight to see.
  • She wore bright red lipstick.
  • Her cheeks were pinkish.
  • He had green eyes.

To Describe Odor:

  • The flowers smelled fragrant.
  • There’s nothing like the sweet smell of oranges.
  • The trash across the hall was putrid.


How to Use Descriptive Adjectives Properly

Here are some of the things you’ll need to remember when using an adjective in a sentence:

  • Adjectives are usually placed right next to the noun or pronoun it modifies. At the most common times, adjectives come before nouns/pronouns they modify, but sometimes they come after them.
  • If the adjective follows a linking verb, it functions as a subject complement.

For example, The house is new. The adjective of the sentence “new” follows the linking verb “is”New modifies the noun house as the subject complement of the sentence.

  • Try to follow a specific adjective order when using two or more adjectives. The standard order is General meaning + Size + Age + Color + Where it belongs + What it is made of.

For example, My small black cat’s name is Amy.

Ready to Have Some Fun with Adjectives?

One of the essential steps to writing great sentences is to learn about adjectives. These words can help you describe and make a noun, verb, or phrase memorable.

And now you know everything that there is to know about adjectives! Try using what you’ve taught her in your next descriptive essay or report. You’ll be surprised by the difference that a good knowledge of adjectives can make in the quality of your writing.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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