chevron icon chevron icon

7 types of Adjectives and how to use them

7 types of Adjectives and how to use them

What's An Adjective

Simply put, an adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun in a sentence. It describes the qualities (eg. big, strong, fast) or quantity (eg. few, many, thousands) of a noun or pronoun.

Not only are adjectives different from adverbs, they’ve to follow a specific order (Order of Adjectives) when two or more are describing a given noun or pronoun in a sentence.

While we’ve covered key aspects such as the ‘Degrees of Adjectives’, and the two primary ways in which (attributively and predicatively) adjectives can occur, there are several lesser-known but equally important adjectives your child needs to know.

Appositive Adjectives

An appositive adjective is an adjective (or series of adjectives) that appears right after the noun it modifies. It’s often separated by commas or dashes. Their goal is to give readers more insight into the noun's characteristics.

Eg. The tree, tall and majestic, shaded the entire garden during the summer months. Here, ‘tall and majestic’ elaborates on the qualities of the tree.

More Examples

  • My friend, an experienced traveler, gave me some useful tips for my trip.
  • The building, a historic landmark, attracts tourists from all over the world.
  • The team's captain, a dedicated and skilled player, led them to victory in the championship.

Compound Adjectives

A compound adjective is formed by combining two or more words with hyphens to create a single descriptor for a noun (eg. in-depth). It helps convey a specific attribute more succinctly. Whenever a compound adjective occurs before the noun it modifies (attributive), the individual words are often connected by a hyphen. However, no hyphen is required when the compound adjective comes after the noun (predictive). 

Eg. The well-known artist exhibited her latest masterpiece at the gallery. The term ‘well-known’ blends two words into one to describe the artist's popularity.

More Examples

  • The concert was filled with heart-pounding music that energized the crowd.
  • She lives in a three-bedroom apartment with a stunning view of the city.
  • The company organized a last-minute meeting to discuss the urgent matter.

Participial Adjectives

A participial adjective is derived from verbs (usually ending in ‘-ing or ‘-ed’) and acts like an adjective to describe nouns. It highlights the noun's state or the effect of an action.

Eg. The thrilling roller coaster ride left everyone breathless. In this case, "thrilling" describes the ride's exciting and intense nature.

More Examples

  • The captivating movie kept the audience engaged until the very end.
  • Her exhausted expression revealed the long hours she had been working.
  • The glowing review from the critics boosted the artist's confidence.

Proper Adjectives

A proper adjective is formed from proper nouns and is used to describe the qualities of another noun. It helps provide context and origin.

Eg. The restaurant served authentic Italian cuisine, complete with traditional recipes. The word ‘Italian’ specifies the type of cuisine offered.

More Examples

  • The restaurant served Italian cuisine with authentic flavors.
  • The festival showcased a variety of Japanese traditions and performances.
  • The painting was inspired by the Renaissance art style, known for its realism.

Denominal Adjectives

A denominal adjective is an adjective derived from a noun. It describes a characteristic of the noun it modifies, often by conveying material or origin.

Eg. She admired the wooden sculpture displayed in the art gallery. The adjective "wooden" describes the material of the sculpture.

More Examples

  • She admired the woolen scarf for its softness and warmth.
  • The children played with their new plastic toys in the garden.
  • The recipe called for a chocolate glaze to top the freshly baked cake.

Nominal Adjectives

A nominal adjective functions as a noun in a sentence but serves the purpose of an adjective by describing other nouns. It saves words by acting as a shorthand for longer descriptions.

Eg. He prefers the blue shirt, while I favor the red one. Here, ‘blue’ functions as a shorthand description of the ‘blue shirt.’

More Examples

  • She prefers the blue shirt, while I like the red one.
  • The library has a wide selection of historical books.
  • The art gallery displayed various abstract paintings from local artists.

Ordinal Adjectives

An ordinal adjective is a type of adjective that indicates the order or position of a noun in a sequence. It helps us understand the rank or arrangement of items in relation to one another.

Eg. She finished in third place in the race. Here, the word ‘third’ is an ordinal adjective. It tells us the specific position she achieved among the competitors.

More Examples

  • She finished in second place in the marathon race.
  • The fifth chapter of the novel revealed a surprising twist.
  • The third student in line received a special prize.
Exam Preparation
icon collapse icon expand Latest Articles
icon collapse icon expand Latest Articles
Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary
select dropdown icon
Our Education Consultants will get in touch with you to offer your child a complimentary Strength Analysis.
Book a free product demo
Suitable for primary & secondary