Most adjectives appear immediately before the nouns they are modifying e.g.
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Descriptive: The beautiful house belongs to my uncle.
Demonstrative: That house belongs to my uncle.
Numerals: Two houses were burned down.
Articles: The house on fire belongs to her sister.
Possessive pronouns: Their house was burned down.
Some adjectives appear after the nouns that they are modifying.
These adjectives are always used after linking verbs that separate them from the words they modify.
An adjective that follows a linking verb and that modifies the subject is called a predicate adjective.
Examples: Joyce seemed lonely.
Her brother was upset.
He became concerned.
Identify the predicate adjectives in the following sentences.
- Her early songs were often quiet and serious.
- One of her songs, Vulindlela, is very popular.
- The dark city below the sky seems calm and peaceful.
- Her performance in K.C.S.E. was brilliant.
- The West African singer Kofi Olominde is extraordinary.
Comparing With Adjectives
We have seen that adjectives describe nouns.
One way in which they describe nouns is by comparing people, places or things.
To compare two people, places or things, we use the comparative form of an adjective.
To compare more than two, we use the superlative form of the adjective.
One person: Kimenju is tall.
Two person: Kimenju is taller than James.
Three person: Kimenju is the tallest of all.
The comparative form of the adjective is used to compare one thing, person or place with another one.
It is formed in two ways.
- For short adjectives, add -er.
Examples: great + er = greater, sweet + er = sweeter, big + er = bigger, light + er = lighter.
- For longer adjectives, the comparative is formed by using the word more before them.
Examples: More handsome, more remarkable, more attractive, more hardworking.
Most adjectives ending in -ful and -ous also form the comparative using more.
More successful more curious more ferocious
More beautiful more generous more prosperous
The superlative form of the adjective is used to compare a person, a place or a thing with more than one other of its kind.
Examples: Elephants are the largest animals in the jungle.
However, they are the most emotional animals.
The superlative form of an adjective is formed in two ways.
- By adding -est to the short adjective
great + est = greatest, sweet + est = sweetest, big + est = biggest, light + est = lightest
- For longer adjectives, use most before them.
Most mysterious most awkward
Most successful most attractive
The ending -er in the comparative becomes -est in the superlative while more becomes most.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
Strong, stronger, strongest
Quick, quicker, quickest
Adventurous, more adventurous, most adventurous
Co-operative, more co-operative, most co-operative
Summary of rules comparing with adjectives:
Points to Note about Adjectives:
- A comparative is used to compare two persons, or things or two groups of persons or things.
Examples: A rat is smaller than a mouse.
Buffaloes are larger than domestic cows
- A superlative is used to compare a thing or a person to more than one other of its kind.
Examples: Lions are the bravest of all animals.
Elephants are the largest of all herbivores.
- You must use the word other when comparing something with everything else of its kind.
Examples: Leopards are more ferocious than any other cat.
- Do not use both -er and more or -est and most.
Incorrect: Men die more earlier than women.
Correct: Men die earlier than women.
Incorrect: My father is the most oldest of the three brothers.
Correct: My father is the oldest of the three brothers.
Write the adjectives in brackets in the following sentences correctly.
- My next sculpture will be even ___________________ (beautiful).
- That was the ________________ cartoon I have ever watched (funny).
- English is my ____________ subject of all (enjoyable).
- Job is the ______________ person in his family.(energetic)
- She is the ______________ of the three nurses. (helpful)
- That story sounds ____________ than fiction. (strange)
- He is _______________ than a cat. (curious)
- Her school grades are ______________ than mine. (high)
- You are _______________ than Maria. (creative)
- My next test will be _______________ than this one. (simple)
Some adjectives have special forms for making comparisons. i.e. they do not form their comparatives by use of -er or more, or their superlatives by use of -est or most. Instead, these adjectives change the words completely to form comparatives and superlatives.
Examples: Adjectives Comparative Superlative
Good, better, best
Well, better, best
Bad, worse, worst
Ill, worse, worst
Little, less or lesser, least
Much, more, most
Many, more, most
Far, farther, farthest
Example of use in sentences:
The presentation of our play was good.
Our second performance was better.
But our last performance was the best.
Write the correct forms of the adjectives in brackets in the following sentences.
- The comedy was the ________________ show of the three. (good)
- Mary had a _________________ cold yesterday. (bad)
- It was her ____________ performance this year. (good)
- Her illness is getting _____________ every day. (bad)
- The old woman received the _____________ amount of money from the MP. (little)
- Smoke your cigarette _______________ away from the children. (far)
- There was ______________ noise in the classroom than yesterday. (little)
- The musician said that that was a very ______________ year for him. (good)
- This year’s songs were much ______________ than last year’s. (good)
- He has the _____________ pairs of shoes in the school. (many)