Grammar - Conventions of Standard English - Adjectives

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Grammar - Conventions of Standard English - Adjectives

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An adjective is a word that describes, identifies or further defines a noun or a pronoun. In short, it is a 'describing' word. Let’s look at the following sentence: 'The tree is tall.' In this sentence we know that the 'tree' is a common noun.

What can we learn about the tree in this sentence? We learn that it is 'tall'. Tall' is an adjective as it describes the tree.

Let’s look at another example. 'The coat was huge on him.' In this sentence the 'coat' is the noun. Note that 'him' is a pronoun. We must then determine if it is the 'coat' or 'him' that is being described. As it is the 'coat', what do we learn about it? We learn that it is 'huge'. 'Huge' is the adjective.

1.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
The cat looked _________ when I saw him.
stubbornly
sick
behind
sickly
The noun in this sentence is 'cat'. The 'ly' gives us a hint that both 'stubbornly' and 'sickly' are adverbs. Adverbs modify a verb and do not describe a noun. 'Behind' is also an adverb as adverbs can tell us where. We need a word that describes the cat. In this case, we learn that the cat was 'sick'.
2.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
It is the _________ I have ever seen.
water
happily
nicest
junk
In this sentence we do not know what 'it' is. 'It' is a pronoun and it has substituted a noun. Just as an adjective describes a noun, it can describe a pronoun. 'Water' and 'junk' are both nouns so they are not the correct choices. 'Happily' is an adverb that modifies a verb. That leaves us with 'nicest'. We know that 'it' is the 'nicest' so 'nicest' is the adjective.
3.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
His new sneakers were ________.
ruined
quickly
running
hers
As an adjective describes a noun we must first find the noun in this sentence. The noun is 'sneakers'. 'Quickly' is an adverb and modifies the meaning of a verb. As 'sneakers' is not a verb, we know this is not the right answer. 'Running' is a present tense verb so that won’t work. 'Hers' is feminine and shows possession. So the correct adverb is 'ruined'. We learn that the sneakers are 'ruined'.
4.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
Do you think learning adjectives is ______?
it
adverbs
difficult
swimming
Did you know that the word 'adjectives' is a noun? It is and it is the noun in this sentence. 'It' is a pronoun that replaces a noun. In this case, 'it' does not replace 'adjectives' which is plural and not singular. 'Adverbs' is also a noun while 'swimming' is a present tense verb. That leaves us 'difficult'. We learn that 'adjectives' might be 'difficult'.
5.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
The sand at the beach was __________.
sand
washing
disappearing
cool
The noun in this sentence is 'sand'. 'Washing' and 'disappearing' are both present tense verbs and not adjectives. 'Sand' is a noun and does not describe what 'sand' is. That leaves us with 'cool'. We learn that the 'sand' is 'cool'.
6.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
The gum was stuck in his _____ hair.
missing
shoulders
grossly
greasy
We are looking for the adjective that describes a noun. This sentence has two nouns, 'gum' and 'hair'. Now, which noun is being described? It is not the 'gum' so it must be the 'hair'. 'Missing' is a present tense verb so it does not work. 'Shoulders' is a noun. 'Grossly' is an adverb and would modify a verb. That leaves us with 'greasy'. His hair was 'greasy'.
7.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
The puzzle he finished was ___________.
beautiful
gracefully
question
his
The noun in this sentence is 'puzzle'. 'Gracefully' is an adverb and would be used to modify a verb. 'Question' can be used as either a 'noun' or a 'verb' but it is not an adjective because it does not describe the puzzle. 'His' is a pronoun and not what we are looking for. So what can we learn about the puzzle? We learn that it is 'beautiful'.
8.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
Grandma is always _______ when she receives a letter.
jittery
sleeping
happy
missing
An adjective describes a noun or pronoun. In this sentence we have two common nouns, 'Grandma' and 'letter'. Which noun is being described? It is 'Grandma'. What do we learn about Grandma? 'Sleeping' and 'missing' are both present tense verbs so they don’t work here. 'Jittery' is also a verb so, again it does not work. Rather, we learn that Grandma is 'happy'.
9.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
A _________ snake scared my sister when she came out of the pool.
garter
moving
hopping
wildly
There are three nouns in this sentence: 'snake', 'sister' and 'pool'. However, the noun we are learning something about is 'snake'. The words 'moving' and 'hopping' are present tense verbs so they are not correct. 'Wildly' is an adverb that modifies a verb. That leaves us with 'garter'. We learn that the 'snake' is a 'garter' snake.
10.
Find the correct adjective that would best describe the noun.
He ran over to the _________ soldier.
pacing
fallen
falling
uniform
The noun in this sentence is 'soldier'. Both 'pacing' and 'falling' are present tense verbs so we know they are not correct. 'Uniform' is a noun and does not describe or tell us something about the soldier. 'Fallen' tells us that the soldier had dropped down. 'Fallen' described the soldier’s condition.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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