What is an adjective?

  • Adjectives describe nouns to tell you more about something.

  • Adjectives come in several varieties, including superlative and comparative.

  • Using adjectives is particularly important in descriptive writing.

Learn about the importance of adjectives and their significance from Amar Latif, who runs a travel company for both blind and fully-sighted people.

Why do we use adjectives?

Adjectives can add detail to a noun (such as a person, place, or thing) to make descriptions clearer or more interesting.

Often, they appear directly before a noun in a sentence:

In the noisy classroom some lively discussions took place.

Adjectives can also appear after the noun in some sentences:

The corridor was clean and bright.

Adjectives can be classified in different ways. Two important groups of adjectives are comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives.

Comparative adjectives

One way to describe nouns is by comparing them to something else. One cat might be fiercer, hungrier, faster, softer, fluffier or shyer than another.

The words describing the cat are called comparative adjectives and usually end in –er.

Here are some more examples:

Summer days are longer than winter ones.

My sunflower is taller than yours.

Superlative adjectives

We can also compare nouns by using superlative adjectives, which mean that something has more of a particular quality than any other of its kind; that it can't be beaten. Superlative adjectives usually end in –est:

She is the strongest player on the best team in the greatest league.

Remember

Get the balance right when choosing adjectives in your writing: too many can be overwhelming for a reader; too few and your reader may not have a clear enough picture of what you are describing.

Activity - adjectives

Adjective quiz

Test your knowledge of adjectives with this quick quiz.

Where next?

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