ADJECTIVES

ADJECTIVES ARE DESCRIBING WORDS. They answer the question: "What kind?", "which one?" and "how many?"

In some languages like French or Vietnamese, the adjectives go after the noun. Not so in English... the adjective is almost always in front of the noun.

"What kind of house?" ... "A large, yellow brick one."

"Which house?" ... "That one."


Determiners

Includes articles, pronouns and demonstratives.

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LIMITING ADJECTIVES

Including cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers ("first", "second", "last", etc)...

RESTRICTIVE ADJECTIVES

COMPARATIVES & SUPERLATIVES
Beware of empty comparisons.
See exercise on comparatives and superlatives here.

ADJECTIVE CLAUSES

Consider this sentence: Adjectives are describing words. In this sentence, "describing" is the adjective, but it looks like a verb (it is actually a participial adjective.) It is a present participle, because it always describes.

An adjective clause comprises a relative pronoun plus a SUBJECT plus a VERB, or a RELATIVE PRONOUN acting as a SUBJECT plus VERB. Unlike ordinary adjectives, they go after the noun they modify.
For example: "who became president last month"... WHO is a relative pronoun acting as subject, and BECAME is the verb.

GRADED AND NON-GRADED ADJECTIVES


Some adjectives can be shaded by adverbs to describe their degree (for example, "hot"). Others are absolutes (for example, "finished").

Some examples:
Fundamentally different.
Excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Quantifying Adjectives

A quantifier is a word or phrase used to talk about quantities, amounts or degree. They can be used with a noun (as a determiner) or without a noun (as a pronoun). Is there any cheese? (any as a determiner) Yes, there's a little. (a little as a pronoun) .

"Least" is the superlative form of "less". There is some debate over the difference between "less" and "fewer". Generally, "less" is used with uncountable nouns, while "fewer" goes with uncountable nouns.

Superlatives are sometimes used to add emphasis without making a direct comparison, although it is frowned upon by some grammarists.

Both “in” and “un” are used as prefixes to mean “not”, but there seems to be no clear rule about which one goes with which adjective. Possibly “un” is supposed to be used with adjectives of Germanic origin, while “in” goes before Latin words, but I can think of many exceptions to this rule (like “unoriginal”), so go figure.

I also remember discussing the difference between “meaningless” and “senseless”. A lot of my students make a mistake with this. While they are both adjectives, there is a significant difference between them. meaningless and senseless. is that meaningless is lacking meaning while senseless is bereft of feeling or consciousness; deprived of sensation; unconscious; insensible.




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