What are adjectives?

An adjective is a word that is used to describe a noun. It is used to express more information about something.

The fast car.

This tells us about the speed of the car.

The happy man.

This tells us about how the man is feeling.

How to use an adjective

We can use adjectives in two different ways. We can use the adjective before a noun to modify it (like in the examples above).

The sunny sky.

We can also use adjectives with linking verbs. (e.g. is, seems, feels, looks etc.) and place them after our noun.

The sky is sunny.
I feel happy.
He looks sad.
It seems quiet.

Coordinate adjectives

We can use more than one adjective to describe a noun. We call these coordinate adjectives.

I bought a big, new house.

Order of adjectives

When we use these coordinate adjectives it’s important to know that there is a particular order that we have to put them in. If we don’t do this then the listener will know what you mean but it will sound “wrong”.

  1. quantity (3, eight, 80)
  2. opinion (good, awesome, bad)
  3. size (big, small, huge)
  4. temperature (hot, cold, freezing)
  5. age (old, new, ancient)
  6. shape (round, square, cube)
  7. colour (black, silver, green)
  8. origin (Japanese, English, French)
  9. material (wooden, metal, plastic)
  10. use (cooking, writing, playing)

I bought square, three, big, tables.

I bought three, big, square tables.

Types of adjectives

Adjectives are used to describe certain qualities and a nice way to approach them is to categorize them into different groups. Below we have a few of these groups with examples in each.

Music adjectives

  • smooth
  • fast
  • aggressive
  • chill
  • beautiful
  • peaceful
  • slow
  • energetic
  • euphoric
  • sad

Appearance adjectives

  • glamorous
  • ugly
  • quaint
  • old-fashioned
  • homely
  • elegant
  • drab
  • dull
  • grotesque
  • colorful

Temperature adjectives

These adjectives are in order from hottest (scorching) to coldest (freezing).

  • scorching
  • boiling
  • hot
  • warm
  • lukewarm
  • mild
  • cool
  • chilly
  • cold
  • freezing

Speed adjectives

These adjectives are in order from fastest (full-speed) to slowest (slow).

  • full-speed
  • swift
  • fast
  • speedy
  • brisk
  • moderate
  • leisurely
  • unhurried
  • lazy
  • slow

Size adjectives

These adjectives are in order form biggest (gigantic) to smallest (tiny).

  • gigantic
  • huge
  • massive
  • large
  • big
  • small
  • petite
  • miniature
  • teeny
  • tiny

Adjectives quiz

Now test your adjectives knowledge with this quiz!

What is an adjective?
Which is an adjective?
What is a synonym for "hot"?
What is a synonym for "fast"?
What is a synonym for "big"?
Which is the correct sentence?
What is the correct order?
What is the correct order?
What is the correct order?
What is it called when we have more than one adjective next to each other?
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