Introduction of English Adjective

Introduction of English Adjective

Adjectives are an integral part of the English language, enhancing our ability to describe and express nuances in our writing and speech. They help bring life and color to our sentences, enabling us to paint pictures with words vividly.

In this article, we will explore the definition of adjectives, the types of limiting adjectives, and adjective endings.

Do not miss the chance to explore it in depth!

Definition of Adjective

An adjective is a describing word. It tells more about a noun.

Adjectives can be used to answer questions like What kind? How many? Or Which one? They are crucial in adding detail, vividness, and depth to our language.

An adjective usually appears before the noun it describes. The adjective sometimes appears after the noun, later in the sentence.

Descriptive Adjectives

Descriptive adjectives are often called common adjectives. As a common noun, they are ordinary, everyday adjectives. They specify the shape, size, or color of the noun they modify.

Examples of common adjectives include big, small, hard, soft, red, and dry.

In general, common adjectives are placed before the noun they are describing.


  • Big house (big is the descriptive adjective that tells us about the size of the house)
  • Red dress

An adjective can also come after the linking verb to be when the adjective describes the subject of a sentence. In this case, it is called a predicate adjective.

  • She is happy. (In this sentence, “happy” is the predicate adjective describing the subject, “She.”)
  • Her dress is red.

Descriptive adjectives can also be formed from a proper noun; it is called a proper adjective.

It is often the name of a specific person, place, or thing. It is capitalized and serves as an adjective to provide information about the noun it modifies.

Proper NounProper Adjective
Indonesia                                        Indonesian
America                                          American

Determiners or Limiting Adjectives

A determiner helps to identify a specific noun rather than describe it. Thus, a determiner is placed before the noun it modifies.


Articles specify whether a noun is referred to in a general or specific way.

Indefinite Articles: “a” and “an”

  • “A” is used before singular countable nouns that begin with a consonant sound. For example, “I saw a car.”
  • “An” is used before singular countable nouns that begin with a vowel sound. For example, “She has an apple.”

Indefinite articles are used when discussing a non-specific or generic item. They indicate that the noun is one of many possible items.

Definite Article: “the”

“The” is used before singular and plural nouns and refers to a specific, known, or previously mentioned item or group.

For example, “I saw the car you were talking about.”

The definite article implies that both the speaker and the listener are aware of the particular item being referred to, and it typically appears when you are talking about something unique or specific.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are based on subject pronouns and show ownership or relationship. I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they are called personal pronouns.

For example, “This is my car.”

Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives point out persons or things. They can point to either singular or plural forms. This and that are singular; these and those are plurals. They are all demonstrative adjectives that point out specific nouns.

For example, “I want this book.”

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are used to form questions. The interrogative adjectives are which, what, and whose.

For example, “Which movie do you want to watch?”

Indefinite Adjectives

Indefinite adjectives indicate non-specific persons or things. Some, each, any, many, and several are examples of indefinite adjectives.

For example, “I have some books.”

Numerical Adjectives

Numerical adjectives indicate quantity by stating a fixed number of people or things. Example: one, two, three.

For example, “I have two cats.”

Adjective Endings

Adjective endings, or adjective inflections, are changes that occur at the end of adjectives to indicate gender, number, case, or other grammatical features.


The -less ending means without.

For example: sleeveless = without sleeves


The -ful ending means having much something.

For example: painful = having much pain


Some adjectives end in “-y” and are often used to describe a characteristic or quality.

For example:

  • happy
  • funny
  • Dirty
  • noisy


Adjectives ending in “-ive” often describe the tendency or capacity to do something.

For example:

  • “creative” means having the capacity for creativity
  • ; “assertive” means tending to assert oneself.


Adjectives ending in “-ing” are typically used to describe something currently happening or in the process.

For example,

  • “exciting” means causing excitement
  • “interesting” means causing interest


ly” is more commonly associated with adverbs. It can also be added to some adjectives to create adverbs.

For example, “quick” can become “quickly.”

-able, -al, -en, -ible, -ish, and -ous

Adjectives with endings like “-able,” “-al,” “-en,” “-ible,” “-ish,” and “-ous” often convey specific qualities or characteristics.

For example

  • comfortable (ending in “-able”) means providing comfort,
  • musical (ending in “-al”) means related to music,
  • Golden (ending in “-en”) means made of or resembling gold,
  • visible (ending in “-ible”) means capable of being seen,
  • foolish (ending in “-ish”) means having the qualities of a fool, 
  • dangerous (ending in “-ous”) means full of danger.

References and Recommended Reading

  • Altenberg, E. P., & Vago, R. M. (2010). English grammar: Understanding the Basics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Azar, B. S. (1996). Basic English Grammar. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Regents.
  • Azar, B. S. (2003). Fundamentals of English Grammar: Chartbook: a Reference Grammar. White Plains, NY: Longman.
  • Azar, B. S., & Hagen, S. A. (2009). Understanding and using English grammar: Workbook. White Plains, N.Y.: Pearson Longman.
  • Ansell, M. (2000). Free English Grammar Second Edition.
  • Barduhn, S., & Hall, D. (2016). English for Everyone–English Grammar Guide. New York: DK Publishing.
  • Herring, P. (2016). Complete English Grammar Rules. California: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Murphy, R., Smalzer, W. R., & Nguyễn, T. T. (2000). Grammar in Use: Intermediate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Murphy, R., & Čhakramāt, S. (2002). Essential grammar in use (Vol. 20010). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tenry Colle
Tenry Colle

Hi! My name is A. Tenry Lawangen Aspat Colle. I am a motivated and resourceful English educator. In addition, as the owner of @rymari.translation17 has shaped me to be a punctual and dependable translator of Indonesian to English and vice versa.

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