Adjectives Describing the World
Making sense of the various components in the English language can be hard to do. Taking each single component will help here. Nouns and verbs are both used to create complete sentences. However, sentences that use only nouns and verbs are really pretty dull they contain no descriptions, no color, no size theyre boring. Adjectives tell you more about the noun in the sentence. They are used to describe things and add vibrancy to speech and writing.
Adjectives Tell More
As mentioned, an adjective is a descriptive term applied to the subject of a sentence or another noun or thing in that sentence. They only work on nouns words that modify verbs are called adverbs. You can usually spot an adjective pretty easily. In most instances, theyll come before the noun they are describing. However, that is not always the case. Heres an example of an adjective used in a sentence:
The red car sped down the road.
In this sentence, the subject is car and the verb is sped. Down the road is an adverbial phrase. The word red is an adjective it describes the car, rather than telling more about what the car is doing or how it is doing it. More than one adjective can be used to describe the same noun, as well. Heres an example:
The big, brown dog barked ferociously.
In this example, both big and brown are used to describe the dog doing the barking and are separated by a comma. Both are adjectives, and both describe the same subject.
Understanding Adjective Clauses
Like adverbs, adjectives can also be formed into clauses. This occurs when a string of words is used to describe a noun, particularly when that string of words contains a separate subject and verb from the main sentence. This is a bit tricky, so heres an example:
The elephant, which is the oldest at the zoo, likes to eat lunch at noon.
In this sentence, the words which is the oldest at the zoo is an adjective clause used to describe the elephant. It provides further detail about the elephant.
An adjective clause can also be modified into an adjective phrase. This is done by removing the subject and verb in the clause. To use the elephant as an example again:
The elephant, the oldest at the zoo, likes to eat lunch at noon.
Adjectives Appearing After the Words They Modify
As mentioned previously, most adjectives come before the word they modify, which is particularly true with colors, sizes and other similar descriptive uses. However, this is not always the case. There are some instances when the adjective will come after the noun that it modifies. For instance:
He lives in the city proper.
In this sentence, proper is an adjective, but it comes after the noun that it modifies. Adjectives of this nature are called postpositive adjectives, and always come afterward.
Adjectives are useful tools for adding descriptions and details, but be careful not to over use them in either your writing or your speaking. Too much of a good thing is still too much.