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Writing Style

Adjectives (ADJ)

An adjective modifies or gives more information about a noun or pronoun.
Adjectives generally answer the following questions.
Which? They went to the Madinat Khalifa Health Center yesterday.
What kind of? She is an emergency room nurse.
How many? She studies for 12 hours each week.
How much? A Clinical Nurse Specialist has a lot of knowledge and experience.

Watch these introductory lessons on adjectives and adjective order in our LC elearning modules class in D2L.


Adjectives are either non-descriptive or descriptive.
Non-descriptive adjectives include articles, demonstrative adjectives (pronouns), interrogative and relative adjectives (relative pronouns), and possessive adjectives.
Descriptive adjectives give information about such matters as the size, shape, colour, nature, and quality of whatever a noun or pronoun names.


Adjectives can be single words, compound words, phrases, or clauses.

Single words: Those are anatomy books.

Compound words: The on-line anatomy text is user-friendly.

A compound adjective is an adjective that contains two or more words that often have a hyphen between them because they are meant to act as a single idea (adjective) that describes something.

Phrases: Those are heavy, new anatomy books.

A group of words that acts as an adjective. An adjective and one or more words that modify the adjective are included in the phrase.

Clauses: Job satisfaction is higher in nurses who are led by a transformational leader.

Dependent clauses beginning with the relative pronouns, that, which, or who, are used to describe (or modify) a noun, a phrase, or the entire clause that comes before them. 


Descriptive adjectives can usually be modified to show the degree of similarity between two or more things using the comparitive, equative, or superlative forms.
You can find out more about comparatives, equatives, and superlatives by clicking on the tab to the left.



Watch this 15-minute video about using adjectives.

Oxford Online English. (2019, June 7). How to use adjectives in English -- English grammar course [Video]. YouTube.


Watch this 8-minute video about adjective order.

Oxford Online English. (2016, April 22). Adjective order in English -- English grammar lesson [Video]. YouTube.


More Information

The Adjective,” R. L. Simmons

The Difference between Adjectives and Adverbs,” Purdue Online Writing Lab

Avoiding Common Errors,” Purdue Online Writing Lab

Adjective phrases,” Lund University