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What is an adjective?

Adjectives are any words that are being used to describe or add meaning to another word. There are nine different types of adjectives, some are always adjectives, and some are only adjectives if they are put with other word classes. This can make things a little more complicated.

As a writer it’s important to use adjectives as not only are they essential for building worlds or characters but they can also provide vital information to the reader. While it’s not important to know each type of adjective is or what each type means, it can be useful especially if you’re experimenting with your writing.

Here are the nine types of adjectives, and how to use them:


(Aka: Qualitative Adjectives)

This is the most common and obvious adjective and provides a description to a noun or a verb.


The blue hat

She‘s running fast


Very simply, this is an adjective that provides the quantity of a noun.


There are four pens

Two cups of coffee


Similar to proper nouns, proper adjectives refer to something specific.


Indian food

Tesco food shop


Adjectives that directly refer to something. These include determiners; this, there, that...'

In simple terms, a demonstrative adjective gives you information to what exactly you are referring to.

That house is big

This food is good


Possessive adjective state who the noun belong to.


My water bottle

David’s car is parked down the street.


Interrogative adjectives ask a question (which, what, where). You may not think of these words as adjectives (sometimes they are not, they are only counted as an adjective if a noun follows them), but they are providing description to the subject of the sentence.


Whose cat is that?

What colour is your car?


An indefinite adjective can modify a noun. (A modifier can slightly change the meaning of a noun)

They provide unspecific information about the noun. Common indefinite adjectives are few, some, many, any, several.

There wasn’t any food left.

There are only a few hours left


Articles are also modifiers, they offer a more specific modification (the, a, an)

The shop is now shut

There’s a balloon up there


A compound adjective will join a noun to modify it. These are usually separated by hyphens or in quotations. These are usually colloquial terms, however some are very common that we all use.

A broken-down car

The cross-country competition.

As you can see many adjectives are adjectives without you actually realising. However, they all have one thing in common and that is they provide (sometimes vital) information to the subject of sentences.


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