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Video Script

Hello. My name is John Erskin. Thanks for joining me for another grammar tutorial.

In today’s video, I am going to talk about adjectives.

  1. First I will tell you what adjectives are.
  2. Then I will talk about the types of adjectives.
  3. After that, I will talk about the position of adjectives. By position of adjectives, I not only mean where adjectives go in a sentence, but the order in which they go when we place more than one adjective in a sentence.

So, if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Today we are talking about adjectives.

Adjectives are words that are used to describe nouns. In other words, tell us more about the nouns that they modify. They give us additional information. Adjectives answer the questions;

Adjectives are grouped according to their grammatical function. Demonstrative adjectives are used to emphasize which item is being singled out and its distance from the speaker.

The demonstrative adjectives are what, which, this, that, these, and those. Limiting adjectives are used to identify nouns. They include the articles a/an, the, some, and so on.


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Here’s a list of the limiting adjectives in English.
a/an, the, some, few, many, every,
each, both, several, any, most, one

Participle adjectives are words that end with ed and ing. Words like amazed, amazing, bored and boring. I’ve already done a video on participle adjectives. If you’d like to watch that video, it’s in this card right here in the corner.

Possessive adjectives, as their name suggests, indicate possession. They include words like mine, his, her, and your.

Here’s a list of possessive adjectives in English.
My, his, her, its, our, you’re their

These first four groups of adjectives are not going to be the focus of this video. Today, I want to focus on factual and opinion adjectives.

Factual adjectives give factual information about the noun they modify. Opinion adjectives tell us what the speaker thinks about the noun being modified by the adjective

For example. This cup is round. Round is a factual adjective. This cup is in fact round. You cannot argue with that. You can’t tell me it’s shape is square or rectangle or triangle. It’s round. That’s a fact. It’s a factual adjective. However, if I told you that I saw an exciting movie, I’m telling you what I thought about a movie. You may watch the same movie and think that it is boring.

So, factual adjectives tell us facts about the noun that the adjective modifies. Opinion adjectives give us an opinion of what the speaker thinks about the noun that the adjective modifies.

Now that you know what adjectives are and the various types of adjectives, let’s talk about adjective placement in sentences.

Most of the time adjectives are placed in front of the noun that they modify. For example, in the sentence

They have a cute cat.

The adjective cute is modifying the noun cat and comes before the noun.

However, when using a linking verb the adjective is separated from the noun that it modifies by the linking verb. For example in the sentence

Their son is tall for his age.

The adjective tall is modifying the noun son, but it’s separated from the noun by the linking verb is. The most common linking verb is the to be verb in its various forms is, are, am, was, were and will be. Other linking verbs include like, look, feel and seem. Here’s a list of the linking verbs in English.

The “to be” verb and its various forms.

Become and its various forms.

Seem and its various forms.

Common verbs that can exist as either action verbs or linking verbs include:

grow, look, prove, remain, smell, sound, taste, turn, stay, get, appear, feel.

Linking verbs are called linking verbs because they link the subject to the adjective. If you’re not sure if the verb you are using is a linking verb, try replacing it with the to be verb.

For instance, in the sentence,

My teacher looks busy.

We can replace the verb looks with the to be verb and have a completely correct sentence. For example:

My teacher is busy.

My teacher was busy.

My teacher will be busy.

All of these are grammatically correct.

However, if you replace the verb looks with any other verb, it would not be a grammatically correct sentence.

For example:

*My teacher has busy.

*My teacher walks busy.

*My teacher runs busy.

All of those are incorrect sentences and should never be used.


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For more information about linking verbs, watch my video on verbs. The link is in the corner.

The last point I want to make before moving on is about a few adjectives that are used only in front of a noun. These adjectives can never be used with linking verbs.

The list includes the directional words north, south, east, and west, along with northern, southern, eastern, and western. It also includes the words countless, occasional, lone, eventful, indoor and outdoor.

You have to be careful when using these words. For example we can say:

He lives in the eastern district.

but we cannot say:

The district he lives in is eastern.

We can say:

There were countless problems with the new machinery.

but we cannot say:

The problems with the new machinery were countless.

So be careful when using these words. Remember, they come only in front of the noun that they modify.

That brings us to the use of multiple adjectives in one sentence. Sometimes you want, or need, to use more than one adjective in a sentence. When that happens, there is a specific order that is recommended. Notice that I said recommended. The rules of placement for multiple adjectives are not written in stone. However, if you follow these recommendations your sentences will sound more natural.

It’s also important for you to know that sentences containing more than three adjectives is very uncommon. Now, to talk about using multiple adjectives in a sentence, let’s return to the topic of opinion and factual adjectives for a moment.

Some adjectives give a general opinions. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun. These adjectives include good, bad, strange, beautiful, awful, nice and so on.

Other adjectives give a specific opinion. We only use these adjectives to describe particular kinds of nouns. For example, we use tasty and delicious to describe food. Comfortable and uncomfortable to talk about furniture and buildings. And adjectives like clever, intelligent and friendly to talk about people and animals. We would never call a child tasty, and we would not (or should not) call a person comfortable.

Factual adjectives fall into the following descriptive types.

Shape, size, condition, age, color, pattern, origin, material, and purpose.

When it comes to using more than one adjective in a sentence, we usually put a general opinion adjectives in front of specific opinion adjectives. So we would say

A nice green shirt.

rather than

A green nice shirt.

We would say

A silly little kid.

rather than

A little silly kid.

We place demonstrative adjectives in front of both opinion and factual adjectives.

After the demonstrative and opinion adjectives, we add factual adjectives as they are needed. The order of factual adjectives is usually: Size, shape, condition, age, color, pattern, origin, material, and purpose.

So, and again, this would be very, very unusual, if you were to use every type of adjective in one sentence, you would first place the demonstrative adjective, followed by general opinion adjective, specific opinion adjective, then adjectives for size, shape, condition, age, color, pattern, origin, material, and finally purpose. But, like I said, it’s very unusual to have that many adjectives in one sentence.

Okay, now you know how to use multiple adjectives in a sentence. Remember, Don’t overdo it with adjectives. Using too many adjectives in a sentence will make your sentences sound awkward and they’ll be difficult to follow. As I said before, sentences with more than 3 adjectives are really very rare. So keep it simple.

So in today’s video, you learned what adjectives are. You also learned about the different types of adjectives and how to use multiple adjectives in a sentence.

I encourage you to practice using adjectives as much as possible. Because you’ll learn them best simply by seeing and hearing them in action.

Take the Quiz.


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