Grammar – What is an Adjective?

Adjectives go with or ‘qualify’ or ‘modify’ nouns, and sometimes pronouns. They are often used to describe the thing that the noun refers to.
Adjectives tend to turn up in one of two place:
X. before nouns in noun phrases, as in elegant handwriting, lumpy gravy, and the very idea. This is the ‘attributive’ position.
X. after ‘being’ verbs, as in Clive’s stupid, you became happy, and it sounds unlikely. This is called the ‘predicative’ position. Here the adjective refers back to the subject – stupid describes Clive, happy describes you, unlikely describes it.
Most adjectives are ‘gradable’ – they can be ‘more’ or ‘less’. You can, for instance, put very and similar words in front of many of them: very funny, fairly interesting. (Some adjectives are not really gradable – ?? more unique – or not gradable at all: X more atomic.
Gradable adjectives have three levels of comparison: the basic adjective, the comparative, and the superlative. So, in quiet, quieter, quietest or sympathetic, more sympathetic, most sympathetic, the -er or more form is the comparative, and the -est or most form is the superlative. The comparative is used to compare two things: Wendy’s bigger than her sister. The superlative is used for three or more – Wendy’s the biggest girl in the school.
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