Image of a small red house. Examples of adjectives: little and red.


Adjectives in English are words that are used with nouns to give extra information to the nouns.

Traditionally, teachers say that adjectives modify nouns. But as a kid, this explanation never really made sense to me, so now as a teacher, I explain differently.

Quick example: little red house

In this noun phrase, the noun house gets more information from the adjectives little and red. Traditionally, we would say that the adjectives little and red modify the noun house.

This is a little red house on the prairie.

Examples of adjectives

Here are some examples of adjectives:

  • happy
  • friendly
  • large
  • undecided
  • unabashed

Rules for adjectives

  • Adjectives usually come before the nouns they modify: little house is correct. We don’t really say house little. There are, however, some exceptions.
  • Adjectives can be gradable (eg, happy) or non-gradable (eg, perfect).
  • Most adjectives can precede nouns or follow linking verbs (eg, a happy child vs The child is happy). However, a small set of adjectives can be used only before nouns (eg, main) and a small set of adjectives can be used only after linking verbs (eg, afraid).
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