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16.3: Adjectives

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    5016
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    Adjectives modify or limit the meaning of nouns or pronouns, usually by describing, quantifying, or identifying. An adjective answers the question what kind, which one, how many, or how much.

    • A describing adjective would be “Josh threw the yellow ball.”
    • A quantifying adjective would be “We caught several sunfish last weekend.”
    • An identifying adjective would be “Carol tried hard to win that race.”

    The most widely recognized adjectives are those words, such as big, old, and tired, that actually describe people, places, or things. These words can themselves be modified with adverbs, as in the phrase “very big.”

    Besides being used to modify a meaning, adjectives can be used to compare items.

    • To compare (comparative) two nouns using an adjective, add “-er” to the adjective.
      Example: Michelle’s new car is bigger than Susan’s.
    • Some adjectives, often those words of three syllables or more, do not always take the “-er” form. Instead, keep the adjective the same and add the word more in front of it.
      Example: Michelle’s new car is more expensive than Susan’s.
    • To compare (superlative) three nouns or more using an adjective, add “-est” to the adjective.
      Example: Michelle’s new truck is the biggest in the parking lot.
    • Some adjectives, often those words of three syllables or more, do not always take the “-est” form. Instead, keep the adjective the same and add the word most in front of it. 
      Example: If Michelle’s new car is the most expensive, she must be working hard to make the payments.

    Adjectives are most often used before a noun.

    • Articles: a, an, the.
    • Demonstratives: this, that, these, those.
    • Possessive pronouns: my, our, your, her, his, its, their, whose.
    • Possessive nouns: John's, the teacher's.
    • Quantifiers: all, few, many, several, some, every, each, any, etc.
    • Cardinal Numbers: one, two, fifty, etc.
    • Ordinal Numbers: first, second, last, next, etc.
    • Example: A dog, this dog, my dog, John’s dog, all dogs, one dog, the first dog...

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Underline the eight adjectives in the following sentence.

    Then, answer the questions. Basia wanted a newer purse than she already had to show off at the birthday party tonight, so she bought the biggest one she could find at the dollar store.

    1. Write the comparative adjective ______________.
    2. Write the superlative adjective __________________.
    3. Write the four articles (you will use the same word more than once) _____, _____, _____, ____. 
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