What do adjectives modify? Writing Guide

What do adjectives modify? Adjectives modify nouns. They can identify a person’s mood (the happy receptionist) or status (the rich man). They can also describe a noun’s actions or consequences (the bright lights, the angry customer).

What are Adjectives?

Adjectives are words that provide more information about the noun they modify. They usually come before the noun they modify, though they can come after it. Some adjectives modify nouns that appear many times. Other adjectives modify unique nouns.

Adjectives answer the questions: What kind? (the black bag) How many? (three children) and Which ones? (the first book).

Adjectives allow us to communicate more clearly. They help us give more detailed information and description about people, things, and places.

What do Adjectives Modify: Types of Adjectives

Most adjectives are modifiers of nouns, but some adjectives modify verbs, pronouns, or phrases. English’s most commonly used adjectives are usually two-syllable words ending in -ness, -y, -ful, or -able. For example, believable, vigorous, and adorable. A mastery of the adjectives highlighted below will help you use them better.

1. Descriptive Adjective.

Descriptive adjectives describe a noun or pronoun’s attributes, traits, or characteristics. Examples of descriptive adjectives are broken, lonely, noisy, sweet, sad, bright, red, and happy. Descriptive adjectives are usually used with verbs or another adjective to emphasize the nature of a thing or action.

For example:

  • I am happy you got the promotion.
  • Your mother is a kind woman.
  • James owns a red car.

2. Comparative Adjectives.

These adjectives tell us how two things compare to each other. They tell us which of two things is more than the other. Common examples of comparative adjectives are: bigger, smaller, faster,similar, and dissimilar.

Examples of Comparative Adjectives in Sentence

  • Mary is taller than Chris.
  • Oranges are sweeter than apples.
  • My hair is blonder than yours.

3. Superlative Adjectives.

A superlative adjective describes the strongest or most significant degree of something and is often used to identify a leading characteristic. Superlative adjectives emphasize the most distinguishing attribute of something. They use the words – more, least, and most to show the importance of one thing over another. Examples of superlative adjectives include strongest, smartest, least expensive, most expensive, and easiest.

Examples of Superlative Adjectives in Sentence:

  • Auntie is the oldest person in the family.
  • Jack is the smartest kid in the class.
  • My book is more interesting than yours.

4. Demonstrative Adjective.

Demonstrative adjectives specify, categorize, and identify. They include words like this, these, that, and those.


  • My room is over there.
  • These apples are rotten.
  • Those children are too loud.

5. Interrogative Adjectives.

An interrogative adjective poses a question. We use interrogative adjectives to inquire about someone or something. Depending on the form, they are often classified as interrogative pronouns, adverbs, or interrogative adverbs. They include what, why, how, which, and whose.

For example

  • Which car is yours?
  • How are you today?
  • Why is he late?

6. Predicate Adjectives.

As in the examples above, many adjectives fall before the noun they modify. Predicate adjectives are used in sentences and clauses with linking verbs. They fall after the noun and verb. A predicate adjective modifies a verb and is quite a common type of adjective.


  • John is smart.
  • My uncle is quiet.
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To Wrap Up

Adjectives modify and provide extra information about the noun or pronoun. Working with adjectives can improve your vocabulary, allow you to identify objects better, and exercise your grammar skills, such as producing sensible sentences.

Learning the types of adjectives and the examples provided in this article will guide you through the process of effectively using them in writing.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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