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Adjectives are an essential part of English, and today we are going to give you the ultimate guide on how to use them effectively. Adjectives are used to describe things, and they come in many forms.
An adjective is a word that describes or changes the noun, pronoun or other adjectives. Most adjectives can be used in front of a noun; “They have a beautiful house” or after a link verb such as be, look, feel; “Their house is beautiful.”
Ed ending adjectives often describe emotions. They tell us how people feel about something: “He was surprised to see the monkey riding a horse.” -ing ending adjectives describe the thing that caused the emotion.
For example, “The film was absolutely terrifying.”
A lot of students get confused by English adjectives with -ed and -ing. First, because they look like verbs in the present simple and the continuous tense. Second, because they’re not sure how the -ing and -ed affect the meaning of the word.
Watch the video below to understand the difference between the two adjective types.
Now try these exercises by selecting either the -ing or -ed form of the adjective. Remember to write your answers in the comments section, and we’ll respond!
Now that you know what an adjective is, along with many examples of the different types of adjectives to use, the next important step is to order your adjectives. If you have a sentence that has more than two adjectives, then you need to place your adjectives in a particular order. Otherwise, your sentence will sound really strange. Take a look at this helpful video to show you how to order your adjective sentences:
Can you rewrite these sentences in the correct order?
Now that we have covered some of the basics of adjective use, we are going to look at something a little more difficult. Using adjectives as nouns can be very confusing for those learning English. If we use the article “the” in front of an adjective, it changes meaning into a plural noun. Look at these examples:
As you can see, using adjectives as nouns in this form allows you to talk about groups of people. For example, poor people = the poor. We don’t often want to make generalizations of groups of people saying they all have similar qualities, however it is useful and efficient when discussing political and social policies. Take a look at this video below which explains the use of adjectives as nouns.
Example: Old people and young people need to come together on the issue of public transportation.
Answer: The old and the young need to come together on the issue of public transportation.
Next up, we are going to look at turning adjectives into adverbs. As we mentioned earlier, adjectives change the meaning of nouns, pronouns or other adjectives. Above, we saw how we can change adjectives into nouns. Now we are going to look at how to change adjectives into adverbs.
Adverbs (adjective + ly) are used to modify the verb, adjectives or other adverbs. Look below for some examples:
The most common irregular adverbs are well, fast and hard. Make sure you don’t add an -ly to these words!
Check out this video for some extra help:
I hope that helped your understanding of this concept.
I woke up early for my morning coffee.
The noodles were absolutely scrumptious.
Sandpaper feels very rough.
The goat was very young.
Comparative adjectives are used to compare 2 objects. The key to understanding comparative adjectives is to count how many syllables (the number of sounds in a word) are in the adjective. For example, fast has one syllable, handsome has 2 syllables and dangerous has 3 syllables.
For one syllable adjectives, we simply add -er to the end of the adjective.
If the adjective ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant spelling, (for example, ‘fat’ or ‘big’), then you need to double the final consonant before adding -er.
For two or more syllable adjectives, simply use the form more + adjective + than.
For two syllable adjective ends in -y, change the -y to -i and add -er.
Memorize this useful chart below so you can remember the comparative form.
|1 syllable||adjective + -er||
She is faster than Mary.
He is bigger than me.
|2 + syllables||more + adjective||Jack is more handsome than Jerry.|
|2 syllables ending in -y||drop -y from adjective +-ier||That joke was funnier than mine.|
Superlative adjectives are used when we are talking about 3 or more objects, where we want to show what is the upper or lower limit of something. The rules to use for superlative adjectives are very similar to comparative adjectives.
For one syllable adjectives, add -est, and again, if the word ends in vowel-consonant, double the consonant.
For two or more syllable adjectives, use the form the most + adjective.
For two syllable adjectives that end in -y, change the -y to -i and add -est.
Here’s another helpful chart to help you remember the rules:
|1 syllable||the + adjective + add -est||
That’s the tallest building in New York.
He is the biggest guy in the class.
|2+ syllables||the most + adjective||Emma is the most interesting woman I’ve ever met.|
|2 syllables ending in -y||drop -y from adjective +-iest||Peter is the funniest of all my friends.|
As always in English, there are some irregulars, so be careful! The most common irregular adjectives are shown below.
|far||further / farther||furthest / farthest|
Now that you have learned all of these rules, have a go at a quick quiz below. Think of an adjective which could fit into the sentence, and then change it to the correct comparative or superlative form. Don’t forget to leave your responses in the comments section, and we’ll respond with corrections or feedback!
We hope that enjoyed today’s this Ultimate Guide to Adjectives. You should now be an English adjective master! Remember to write any comments or answers to questions that you have in the comment section so we can write back to you. If you want to put your newfound knowledge into practice, then sign up here today for a trial class with LOI English.