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Arts & Letters Daily


Grammar Tutorial – Adjectives

Let’s look at the job that ADJECTIVES do in a sentence. Suppose you showed me the picture below and said,

I like my friend’s shirt in this picture.

I would say to you, So, who is your friend? They all wear shirts!”

How could you have solved my problem in the first place? You could have said,

I like my friend’s red shirt.

Immediately, I would have known who your friend is in this picture.

That’s what adjectives can do for you. They can change a sentence into a clear statement. In the sentence above, one word – ‘red’ – did it!

What else could you have said about your friend in the picture? What about,

My friend, Bobbie, stuck his big red tongue out at Charlie.

That ‘big red tongue’ really stands out in the picture. You can almost see it just by reading the sentence … that’s how vivid adjectives can make a sentence.

We call these describing words ‘descriptive adjectives’. They add color, size, and shape to persons, places and things.

There are two kinds of adjectives – descriptive adjectives and limiting adjectives.

Look at a few more examples of DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVE.

Orange vegetables are good for you. 

  • ‘orange’ is an  adjective that refers to color and describes the noun vegetables)

Green leafy vegetables contain minerals and vitamins. 

  • ‘green’ and ‘leafy’ are adjectives that refer to color and shape and describe the noun vegetables)

The tall thin girl is my sister. 

  • ‘tall’ and ‘thin’ are adjectives that refer to her shape and describe the noun ‘girl’)


Now let’s look at LIMITING ADJECTIVES.

They ask questions such as: how many, which one, and whose. Here are some examples:

That new bicycle is mine. 

‘That’ is an adjectives that answers the question ‘which one’ and describes the noun bicycle; ‘mine’ is an adjective that answers the question ‘whose’.

The three boys in the car are my brothers. 

  • ‘Three’ is an adjective referring to ‘how many’ and modifies ‘boys’.

In Summary:

Adjectives describe or modify nouns. They add meaning to the nouns they modify. As I have illustrated above, there are two kinds of adjectives: descriptive adjectives and limiting adjectives.



Try the following activities to find out how well you understand how to use adjectives:

After you have watched this Lesson, go to, for the NOTES, ASSIGNMENT and ANSWER KEY on ADJECTIVES.

Go to GRAMMAR in the top navigation bar and go to ADJECTIVES – click on it.

To send any questions you may have about grammar, go to and click on ASK Dr. OTTO. I will reply to your questions as quickly as possible.