Kinds of Adjectives

We’ve studied different kinds of nouns and different kinds of verbs. This week, we will look at different kinds of adjectives and how they are used. Adjectives are words that give us more information about nouns. They describe nouns. Some teachers say that they modify nouns. All of those things mean the same thing. Let’s look at the different kinds of adjectives we have.

  • Quality/Characteristic Adjectives – These are the adjectives we normally think about when we hear the word “adjective.” They tell us something about a noun. The man is tall. The class is fun. The food is disgusting. Quality/Characteristic adjectives also include words like good, big, purple, difficult, incredible, and exciting.
  • Participial Adjectives – Some quality/characteristic adjectives come from verbs. We form these adjectives by using the present participle (-ing form of the verb) or the past participle (-ed or irregular form) as a verb. Participial adjectives include exciting, excited, interesting, and interested.
  • Demonstrative Adjectives – Demonstrative adjectives tell us which one(s) we’re talking about. They are called demonstrative adjectives because they demonstrate, or point to, the thing we mean. This chart will help you decide which demonstrative adjective you need.

demonstrative adjectives chart

  • Possessive Adjectives – Possessive adjectives tell us who owns the noun we’re talking about. They are my, your, our, their, his, her, and its.
  • Quantity/Amount Adjectives – These adjectives tell us how much or how many there are. They include all numbers and the words much, more, most, and many.
  • Order Adjectives – Order adjectives tell us the order in which things are. For example, if 5 people are waiting in line at the supermarket, the person at the front of the line is the first person in line. The person behind him is the second person. Order adjectives include all ordinal number (first, second, third, 127th) as well as words like  later and subsequent.
  • Interrogative Adjectives – We use interrogative adjectives to ask questions about nouns we don’t know. When I ask, “Which dessert would you like?” I use the interrogative adjective which. What, which, and whose are our interrogative adjectives.

Adjectives in a List

If you use more than one adjective to describe one verb, your adjectives should go in a specific order. This chart will help you decide the order to use. If you have more than one “opinion” adjective, you can put them in any order you want.

adjective order chartHere are some sentences that use the phrases from the chart:

  • I saw a great French painting at the museum.
  • My grandmother gave me the big, antique wooden table in the dining room.
  • Have you seen my favorite purple cotton scarf?
  • This tiny, round Hungarian coin has magical powers.
  • You can have those ugly, old coffee mugs if you want them.
  • We’ve lost five triangular, green puzzle pieces.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to practice. Write a sentence to describe the things you see in each picture. Try to use more than one adjective to describe some of the nouns. Write your sentences in the comments section.


photo by ecparent

photo by ecparent


photo by ecparent

photo by ecparent


Napoli sunset

photo by ecparent


photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

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