An adjective is a word which describes or limits a substantive.
An adjective is said to belong to the substantive which it describes or limits.
An adjective which describes is called a descriptive adjective.
An adjective which points out or designates is called a definitive adjective.
Most adjectives are descriptive such as….round, cold, red, angry, graceful, excessive, young, sudden, Roman.
Note : Many descriptive adjectives are compound adjectives such as,—steadfast, lionlike, fireproof, downright, heartsick, everlasting, brown-eyed, broad-shouldered, ill-tempered, dear-bought, far-fetched, never-ending, self-evident, self-important.
1. He was a matter-of-fact person.
2. Tom is hail-fellow-well-met with everybody.
3. This is an out-of-the-way place.
4. A dashing, down-at-the-heel youth answered my knock.
A proper noun used as an adjective or an adjective derived from a proper noun is called a proper adjective and usually begins with a capital letter.
Examples : a Panama hat, Florida oranges, a Bunsen burner; Virginian, Spenserian, Newtonian, Icelandic, Miltonic, Byronic, Turkish, English, Veronese.
Note : Many so-called proper adjectives begin with a small letter because their origin is forgotten or disregarded such as…..china dishes, italic type, mesmeric power, a jovial air, a saturnine expression, a mercurial temperament, a stentorian voice.
Definitive adjectives include pronouns used as adjectives (as, this opportunity, those pictures, either table and what time is it?). numeral adjectives (as, two stars, the third year) and the articles…a (or an) and the.
Pronouns used as adjectives (often called pronominal adjectives) have been studied under Pronouns demonstratives, indefinites, relatives and interrogatives.
Numeral adjectives will be treated, along with other numerals (nouns and adverbs).
Adjectives may be classified, according to their position in the sentence as attributive adjectives, appositive adjectives and predicate adjectives.
1. An attributive adjective is closely attached to its noun and regularly precedes it.
1. The angry spot doth glow on Cesar’s brow.
2. O! You hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome!
3. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
An appositive adjective is added to its noun to explain it, like a noun in apposition.
Noun in Apposition : The castle, a ruin, stood on the edge of the cliff.
Appositive Adjective : The castle, ancient and ruinous, stood on the edge of the cliff.
Noun in Apposition : Bertram, the ringleader, refused to surrender.
Appositive Adjective : Bertram, undaunted, refused to surrender.
A predicate adjective completes the meaning of the predicate verb, but describes or limits the subject.
Predicate adjectives are common after is (in its various forms) and other copulative verbs, particularly become and seem.
1. The sea is rough to-day.
2. Burton soon became cautious in his judgments.
3. You seem anxious about your future.
4. The air grew hot and sultry.
5. Our first experiment proved unsuccessful.
6. The milk turned sour.
7. Our agent proved trustworthy.
Note : The construction of the predicate adjective is similar to that of the predicate nominative. Both are known as complements, because they complete the meaning of a verb.
After look, sound, taste, smell, feel, a predicate adjective is used to describe the subject. Thus…..
1. Your flowers look thrifty. [Not: look thriftily.]
2. Their voices sound shrill. [Not: sound shrilly.]
3. This apple tastes sweet. [Not: tastes sweetly.]
4. The air smells good. [Not: smells well.]
5. The patient feels comfortable. [Not: feels comfortably.]