Grammar Adjective Examples: How to Make Your Writing More Descriptive |
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Adjective Examples: How to Make Your Writing More Descriptive

Adjectives add to vivid writing and speaking, and we use them often, perhaps without even being aware. In this discussion, we’ll explain what an adjective is, look at examples, and offer some guidance for using them well.

What Is an Adjective?

An adjective is a word that describes the qualities of a noun (an object, a person, or a thing).

Consider the following sentence:

Tom lives in a house.

The sentence includes no adjective, leaving us with only a basic, nondescript image of a house. Now let’s revisit the same sentence with adjectives applied:

Tom lives in a tiny house.

Tom lives in a massive house.

Tom lives in a modern house.

Adding even one simple adjective can influence the house’s depiction. The rest of the sentence remains the same, but tiny, massive, and modern provide different perceptions of how Tom is living.

Let’s look at another example of a sentence without an adjective and then with different adjectives applied:

My neighbor has a cat.

Without adjectives, our understanding is limited. Now let’s see what happens when we enhance it descriptively:

My neighbor has a feisty cat.

My neighbor has a fluffy cat.

My neighbor has a friendly cat.

Once again, by changing one simple word, we can notably shape the impression. That’s the power of a well-placed adjective.

What Are Some Examples of Adjectives?

English includes thousands of adjectives, and they will always be descriptive in some way. That means they will refer to qualities such as size, color, location, possession, or even preference. Some might relate to the origin of an object, while others could be comparative.

Here are some you may come across often:

beautiful durable mine mischievous smelly
ugly tall hers messy aromatic
hot short American clean blue
cold smart fast cool numerous
breakable thin slow inspired scary

Merely scanning this list will help you recognize the kinds of words you’ll normally see serving as adjectives describing nouns.

These same words can be slightly modified to describe verbs (action words), such as by adding the prefix -ly (e.g., coldly, slowly, mischievously). Adjectives and adverbs are related, but adjectives only apply to nouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Why Do We Need Adjectives?

There are many different adjectives and adjective categories that can be used. Becoming familiar with them will further contribute to your skills as a grammatical and descriptive communicator. When they are applied with proper restraint—we should not rely on them too much—you will find they give you extra freedom and flexibility in creating images of people, objects, and situations.

Consider the classic opening to a mystery novel:

It was a dark and stormy night.

Just two words can set the tone for all that follows. Such is the power of the right adjective in the right place. It can help your readers develop crisp mental pictures and understand the details that matter whether you’re typing an email, writing a story, or preparing a speech.

Continue Enhancing Your Grammar

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