What are Adjectives?

Common Adjective Forms
Common Adjective Types. Kenneth Beare

What are Adjectives?

Adjectives are words that describe things, people and places.

She has a fast car. -> 'fast' describes the car
Susan is very intelligent.-> 'intelligent' describes Susan
That's a beautiful mountain. -> 'beautiful' describes mountain

In other words, adjectives describe characteristics of different things.  There are nine types of adjectives which are explained below. Each type of adjective includes a link to further details of the particular grammar usage.

Descriptive Adjectives

Descriptive adjectives are the most common type of adjective and are used to describe a certain quality such as large, small, expensive, cheap, etc. of the object. When using more than one descriptive adjective, it is important to make sure that they are placed in the right adjective order.

Jennifer has a difficult job.
That sad boy needs some ice cream.
Susan purchased an expensive car.

Proper Adjectives

Proper adjectives are derived from proper nouns and must always be capitalized. Proper adjectives are often used to show the origin of something.

French tires are excellent.
Italian food is the best!
Jack prefers Canadian maple syrup.

Quantitative Adjectives

Quantitative adjectives show us how many of something is available. In other words, numbers are quantitative adjectives. However, there are other quantitative adjectives such as several, many, a lot of which are also known as quantifiers.

There are two birds in that tree.
She has many friends in Los Angeles.
I count sixteen mistakes on your homework.

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are used to ask questions. Interrogative adjectives include which and what. Common phrases using interrogative adjectives include Which type / kind of XYZ and What type / kind of XYZ ....

Which kind of car do you drive?
What time should I come?
What type of ice cream do you like?

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives indicate possession. Possessive adjectives are created by adding an apostrophe to a noun to indicate possession such as the car's color, or the friends' vacations. Possessive adjectives also include my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.

My house is on the corner.
Tom's best friend is Peter.
Her dog is very friendly.

Predicate Adjectives

Predicate adjectives are placed at the end of a sentence or clause to describe the noun at the beginning of a sentence. Predicate adjectives are often used with the verb 'to be'.

His job is stressful.
The vacation was enjoyable.
It probably isn't very easy.

Pronominal Adjectives

Pronominal adjectives are also known as possessive adjectives as discussed above. Pronominal adjectives are created from pronouns and include my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.

That's my house.
Our vacation was a lot of fun.
He delivered their mail every day.


Definite and indefinite articles can be thought of as an adjective in that they describe the noun as one of many or a specific instance of a particular object. For example, I live in a house, indicates that I live in ONE of many houses - you do not know which.

 I live in the house on the corner, indicates a specific house.

A and an are indefinite articles, the is the definite article.

Tom would like an apple.
She wrote the book that's on the table.
I ordered a glass of beer.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns show which objects (noun or noun phrase) is meant. Demonstrative pronouns include this, that, these and thoseThis and that are singular demonstrative adjectives, while these and those are plural. Demonstrative pronouns are also known as determiners.

I would like that sandwich for lunch.
Andrew brought these books for everyone to read.
Those trees are beautiful!