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The Basic Rules: Adjectives
 

1. Adjectives modify (Describe) nouns and pronouns. To modify means to change in some way.

E.g. :"I ate an enormous lunch."  - Lunch is a noun, and enormous is an adjective that modifies it. It tells us what kind of meal the person ate.

 

2. Adjectives usually answer one of a few different questions: "What kind?" or "Which?" or “How many ?”

E.g.: "The tall girl is riding a new bike."  - Tall tells us which girl we're talking about. New tells us what kind of bike we're talking about.
 
E.g. "The tough professor gave us the final exam."  - Tough tells us what kind of professor we're talking about. Final tells us which exam we're talking about.
 
E.g. "Fifteen students passed the midterm exam; twelve students passed the final exam."  - Fifteen and twelve both tell us how many students; midterm and final both tell us which exam.

 

So, generally speaking, adjectives answer the following questions: which, what kind of, how many.
Adjectives: Usage

 

(A) Adjective + Noun

e.g., 
Richard is a careless man
                            adj.       noun
 
Note: When used with a compound pronoun (e.g., somebody, anybody, anywhere, no one, nothing), the adjective comes after, not before it. 
 


E.g., Give me something cool to drink.
X    Give me cool something to drink.
 
The reason for this is that some, any and no themselves are also adjectives, and they cannot follow other adjectives; they must come before them.
 

 

(B) Pronoun + Verb (BE) + Adjective
e.g., He   is    careless.
     pronoun       adj.
 
Note: Some adjectives are only used after verbs, usually after the verb "be" ( is, are, am, were, was etc.); they are never used before nouns. Among these adjectives are afraid, alone, alive, asleep, awake, ashamed, drunk and present. 


E.g., Rahul is alone.
Rahul is an alone man.
 
E.g., Delhi and Mumbai are alike in several respects.
Delhi and Istanbul are alike cities in several respects.

Degrees of Adjectives:

  • Positive: simple form of the adjective i.e. clean, fast, dirty , used with as
  • Comparative: comparing two objects faster, slower etc., used with than
  • Superlative: comparing more than two objects : fastest , smoothest

Table 1: Degrees of adjectives in regular form
 

Positive

Comparative

Superlative

One Syllable

Fast

faster

fastest

smooth

smoother

smoothest

Slow

slower

slowest

Clean

cleaner

cleanest

Smart

smarter

smartest

More than One Syllable

difficult

more difficult

most difficult

handsome

more handsome

most handsome

Stupid

more stupid

most stupid

wicked

more wicked

most wicked


Table 2: Degrees of adjectives in irregular forms

 

Positive

Comparative

Superlative

good

better

best

bad

worse

worst

little (size)

small

smallest

much/many

more

most

far

farther

furthest

old (age)

elder

eldest

Three Degrees of Adjectives
 

POSITIVE

COMPARATIVE

SUPERLATIVE

ABLE

ABLER

THE ABLEST

ACTIVE

MORE ACTIVE

THE MOST ACTIVE

BAD

WORSE

THE WORST

BEAUTIFUL

MORE BEAUTIFUL

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL

BIG

BIGGER

THE BIGGEST

BUSY

BUSIER





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