Adjectives and Adverbs, and the Difference Between Them

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What is an adjective?

Stated simply, an adjective is a word that describes or further describes or identifies a noun or pronoun. They answer the questions, "what kind?" "how many?" and "which one?" They can describe how something looks, tastes, feels, sounds, or acts.


Describing how something looks:

The fat gray squirrels were very abundant in this section of the trail.
The cramped tunnel soon led to a large, wide space.
The tower of chairs looked very unstable.
The small dog soon proved to be stronger than it looked.

Describing how something tastes:

This candy is too sour.
The strange diner was surprisingly tasty.
The unripened fruit was tart and bitter.
Much to my dismay, the supposedly lemon-flavored candy was actually very minty.

Describing how something feels:

The material was very flaky and dusty, crumbling when I touched it.
The slick sidewalk caused many pedestrians to slip and fall.
Instead of being warm, I found the food to still be cold and solid.
Tight, plastic-looking
pants should not be worn in public.

Describing how something sounds:

The shrill, screeching music was blasted from the speakers.
His voice was hoarse and raspy while he had the flu.
The thundering of the race horses' hooves was deafening to the people in the stadium.

Describing how something acts:

Your behavior has been strange and bizarre as of late.
She is so clumsy; she will never be as graceful as I am.
Hannah is very lively and energetic.

However, there are three types of adjectives: descriptive, quantitive, and demonstrative adjectives.

Descriptive Adjective: Demonstrative adjectives answer the question, "what kind?" They describe the characteristics of a noun, such as size and shape.

The fish was too salty. (Here, the word salty describes the fish.)

Quantitive Adjectives: Quantitive adjectives answer the question, "how many?" They can be an exact or approximate amount of a noun. These adjectives will either be a numeral adjective (i.e. three, five, or ten) or an indefinite pronoun (i.e. some, few, and many).

Many students gathered in the auditorium. (Here, the word many describes the number of students.)
There are three surgeons working on this patient. (Here, the word three describes the number of surgeons.)

Demonstrative Adjectives: Demonstrative adjectives answer the question, "which one?" They point out particular nouns. Common examples of demonstrative nouns are this, that, those, and these.

These shoes are mine. (Here, the word these points out the shoes.)


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