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Adjectives - Words That Describe

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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We’ve learned about nouns. Now we’ll look at words that describe or modify nouns. We call these words or groups of words adjectives. In this section, we’ll also learn about articles—a, an, and the.

Adjectives describe or modify nouns or pronouns. They come in many varieties. Many consist of a single word, in which case they usually precede the noun they modify. Thus:

the high mountain the low valley the red wagon

Sometimes, however, even these single-word adjectives can come after the noun they modify. Consider the song with the lyrics about:

the mountains high and the valleys so low

Or think about the statement:

He painted his wagon red.

When adjectives do come before the noun they modify, they appear in what’s called the attributive position.

Single-word adjectives can come after the words they modify. The verb to be and the other linking verbs enable us to position an adjective, not in the attributive position, but in what’s called the predicative position, that is, the adjective appears in the predicate.


The wagon is red, the mountain is high, and the valley is low.

Even without the verb to be, some adjectives follow the words they modify:

the body politic the heir apparent the village proper

Hard Copy

You may download our entire discussion of the Parts of Speech. Simply download the Grammar eBook Understanding the Parts of Speech.


Previous: Adjectives - Definition, Overview, and Lists of Examples

Next: Positive, Comparative, Superlative

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