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Definition Adjectives are words that describe or modify another person or thing in the sentence. If a group of words containing a subject and verb acts as an adjective, it is called an Adjective Clause. My sister, who is much older than I am, is an engineer. Let your broad-shouldered verbs and nouns do the hard work of description. Be particularly cautious in your use of adjectives that don’t have much to say in the first place: interesting, beautiful, lovely, exciting. Consider the uses of modifiers in this adjectivally rich paragraph from Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.
Position of Adjectives Unlike Adverbs, which often seem capable of popping up almost anywhere in a sentence, adjectives nearly always appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify. Sometimes they appear in a string of adjectives, and when they do, they appear in a set order according to category. Anyone capable of doing something horrible to someone nice should be punished. The president elect, heir apparent to the Glitzy fortune, lives in New York proper.
See, also, the note on a- adjectives, below, for the position of such words as «ablaze, aloof, aghast. Gladys is a rich woman, but Josie is richer than Gladys, and Sadie is the richest woman in town. The degrees of comparison are known as the positive, the comparative, and the superlative. Actually, only the comparative and superlative show degrees. We use the comparative for comparing two things and the superlative for comparing three or more things.
People who argue that one woman cannot be more pregnant than another have never been nine-months pregnant with twins. According to Bryan Garner, «complete» is one of those adjectives that does not admit of comparative degrees. From The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Styleby Bryan Garner. Published by Oxford University Press, Inc. He is as foolish as he is large. She is as bright as her mother. Premodifiers with Degrees of Adjectives Both adverbs and adjectives in their comparative and superlative forms can be accompanied by premodifiers, single words and phrases, that intensify the degree.
We were a lot more careful this time. He works a lot less carefully than the other jeweler in town. We like his work so much better. You’ll get your watch back all the faster. The weather this week has been somewhat better. He approaches his schoolwork a little less industriously than his brother does. He arrived a whole lot sooner than we expected.
That’s a heck of a lot better. She is wearing her very finest outfit for the interview. They’re doing the very best they can. Of all the wines produced in Connecticut, I like this one the most. The quicker you finish this project, the better. Of the two brothers, he is by far the faster. Authority for this section: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum.
In the United States, we usually use «more than» in countable numerical expressions meaning «in excess of» or «over. In England, there is no such distinction. The Order of Adjectives in a Series It would take a linguistic philosopher to explain why we say «little brown house» and not «brown little house» or why we say «red Italian sports car» and not «Italian red sports car. The order in which adjectives in a series sort themselves out is perplexing for people learning English as a second language. Most other languages dictate a similar order, but not necessarily the same order. This chart is probably too wide to print on a standard piece of paper. If you click HERE, you will get a one-page duplicate of this chart, which you can print out on a regular piece of paper.