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Intro to Adjectives
Transcript of Intro to Adjectives
The Magic Lens by Michael Clay Thompson
Adj.: a word that MODIFIES a noun or a pronoun
the GOLDEN hue
the DECREPIT house
he was TALL
Major Principle of
Effective Writing Style
Only modify when necessary
Avoid cluttering a sentence with mediocre adjectives
Let the main words (subject, verb, direct object, subject complement) be well chosen and free of modifiers
Be selective about adjectives
MODIFY is truer than describe
To say an adjective describes a noun is not an accurate expression; we can describe something without changing it. To modify is to change.
Think about a frozen mountain summit until you can picture it in your mind.
Now, imagine a green summit.
Does the second adjective modify (change) the summit image in your mind?
Because it does, the adjective does more than describe--it MODIFIES!
Adjectives are always part of a binary system
Like a planet with a moon
The presence of an adjective implies the presence of a noun or pronoun
If you see THE (adjective) in a sentence, look for the noun; there has to be the SOMETHING.
A noun can do without an adjective, but an adjective cannot exist without a noun or pronoun.
If a word is not modifying a noun or pronoun, it is not an adjective!
Three degrees of adjective
Adjectives change degree:
A fire can be hot, hotter, or hottest.
A book can be good, better, or best.
These three degrees of adjective intensity are known as
1. positive (good)
2. comparative (better)
3. and superlative (best).
Proper adjectives are made out of proper nouns.
England makes English.
Rome makes Roman.
The reason school subjects such as English or Spanish are capitalized is that these two are proper adjectives, whereas history or mathematics are not.
Sometimes we use verb forms as adjectives to modify nouns or pronouns.
Participial forms end in --ing:
the running water
the dancing girl
Infinitive forms use the to + verb form:
the team to beat
the food to devour
In these cases, the word is an adjective, not a verb, because it performs the adjective function of modifying a noun or pronoun.
There are not nine parts of speech!
Articles are a type of adjective!
A, an, & the are adjectives.
Number adjectives such as two dogs or seven rocks should be written out in academic writing, rather than given as numerals.
The is a definite article because we are being definite when we ask for THE book.
A and an are indefinite articles because we are being indefinite when we ask for A book.
Good or Well?
The word good is an adjective.
The word well is an adverb.
"The good athlete runs well."
good modifies athlete (noun)
well modifies how she runs (verb)