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Term Definition

An adjective modifies a noun and gives more specific details about something within a sentence. You likely use adjectives several times a day without even realizing it.

Introduction to Adjectives

Would you like to learn more about the interesting part of speech known as the adjective? An adjective essentially modifies a noun and gives you more details about that noun. A noun is a person, place, or thing. So, an adjective is a word that tells you more about the subject within a sentence.

Rules to Consider When Using Adjectives

Here is an example of an adjective being used properly within a sentence: 

"The ominous color of the sky made the people of the village think that a dangerous event was about to occur."

There are actually several different adjectives here. "Ominous" is the adjective of the noun "color of the sky". "Of the village" is an adjective of the noun "people". And "dangerous" is the adjective of the noun "event". 

Now, here is an example of the incorrect use of an adjective.

"The athlete took the game very serious; as far as he was concerned, losing was not an option."

Here, the adjective is "serious", and it is being used incorrectly because it is modifying the verb "took" and not a noun. 

In case you may still be confused, here are some rules regarding the use of adjectives. 

1. An adjective is always connected with a noun and never with any kind of verb. If an adjective is used properly, then it will always be possible for you to figure out what noun is being described by the adjectives. 

2. Often, in more complex sentences, entire phrases can serve as adjectives. Again, the only rule is that the adjective has to describe a noun. The adjective itself can be a simple word, or a complex phrase; as long as it describes a noun, it is still an adjective. 

General Purpose and Background

In general, one of the main purposes of the adjective is to add color to the descriptions of persons, places, and things. For example, if you could theoretically just talk about individual nouns without describing them in any way: if you want to write about wallpaper, you could just say "the wallpaper". But by using an adjective, you can make your description more interesting. For example, you would be able to say "the striped wallpaper", or "the multicolored wallpaper". 

In addition, in both common speech and writing, an adjective is often used in order to more clearly specify what noun you are talking about. For example, if you are at a party and you want to tell a friend about a girl you just met, your friend may want know which girl you are talking about. If you just say "girl", then this would be too vague. So, you may now turn to the use of an adjective: you may say "the girl with dark curly hair". Now your friend will have a better idea, all thanks to the adjective. 

Finally, an adjective can also be used in order to add diversity to your sentences and make them more complex. For example, the phrase "the cat is orange" has the same information as the phrase "the orange cat". But the latter has an adjective, and it can let you speak at greater length about the cat (as opposed to just getting hung up on the fact that it is orange).

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Synonyms: adjective

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