Types of Adjectives

When identifying types of adjectives, you'll need to determine what function the adjective performs in the sentence. An adjective is a word that modifies a noun. Teaching adjectives can be tricky, since children often mistake adverbs for adjectives and vice versa. Remind your child that an adjective describes or modifies a person, place or thing, while an adverb modifies a verb, or something that is being done.

Here are the different types of adjectives kids should know:

  • Descriptive Adjectives: These colorful adjectives are words that describe a noun. For example, the following bolded words are common descriptive adjectives: a short boy, a scary story or a spooky cat.
  • Limiting Adjectives: Limiting adjectives quantify a noun. They tell us how much or how many, giving us an idea of how much of the noun is being described. For example: the three girls played hopscotch, that paper is soiled or the doctor's office is under construction. In each of these examples, the noun described is limited, either to a specific gourp of girls, a specific paper or a particular office.
  • Predicate Adjectives: Some adjectives can be really tricky. Predicate adjectives follow a linking verb, but ultimately they describe the noun. The following bolded words are predicate adjectives: playing the game was exciting; the two girls look familiar. In the first example, exciting describes a noun that is a gerund of a verb. In the second example, familiar describes the girls.
  • Verbal Adjectives: In some cases, verbals are also adjectives. For example, a participle ending in -en, -ed or -ing is always an adjective. For example, "My son is driven to perform well academically." Another verbal that can function as an adjective is an infinitive adjective, as in, "To sing beautifully is desirable." Beautifully modifies "to sing," but "to sing" is an infinitive, making "beautifully" an infinitive adjective instead of an adverb.
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