1.2Degrees of Comparison ______________________3
1.3Substantivization of Adjectives. _______________6
1.4Syntactic Functions of Adjectives.______________7
2.1Position of Adjectives________________________7
2.2Order of Adjectives. _________________________9
2.3Adjectives with prepositions. _________________11
2.4Adjectives with ‘to’-infinitive or ‘that’-clauses ___13
We have chosen this theme because we like adjectives from our early
school age. It was interesting for us to investigate adjectives and to
find something new that we didn’t know before. First of all we found out
the basical definitions of adjectives to describe it as part of speech.
We used many theoretical books to do our course work, such as: « Modern
English language» (Theoretical course grammar) V.N. Zhigadlo, I.P.
Ivanova, L.L. Iofik. Moscow, 1956 y., Baker, Mark. 2005. Lexical
Categories – Verbs, nouns and adjectives. Cambridge University Press,
etc. Then we looked through the “Warren, Beatrice. (1984). Classifying
adjectives. Gothenburg studies in English” to know their theories and
thoughts about adjectives as a part of speech. Here what we found about
In grammar, an adjective is a part of speech that modifies a noun or a
pronoun, usually by describing it or making its meaning more specific.
Adjectives exist in most languages. The most widely recognized
adjectives in English are words such as big, old, and tired that
actually describe people, places, or things. These words can themselves
be modified with adverbs, as in the phrase very big.The articles a, an,
and the and possessive nouns, such as Mary’s, are classified as
adjectives by some grammarians; however, such classification may be
specific to one particular language. Other grammarians call such noun
modifiers determiners. Similarly, possessive adjectives, such as his or
her, are sometimes called determinative possessive pronouns, and
demonstrative adjectives, such as this or that, are called determinative
demonstratives.In some languages, participles are used as adjectives.
Examples of participles used as adjectives are lingering in the phrase
lingering headache and broken in the phrase broken toys. Nouns that
modify other nouns are sometimes called modifying nouns, nouns used
adjectivally, or just part of a compound noun (like the word ice in ice
According to the theories of Dixon, R. M. W. (1977). “Where have all the
adjectives gone?” Studies in Language, 1, 19-80 :
Adjectives are the third major class of words in English, after
and verbs. Adjectives are words expressing properties of objects
large, blue, simple, clever, economic, progressive, productive, etc)
hence, qualifying nouns.Adjectives in English do not change for
number or case. The only grammatical category they have is the
degrees of comparison. They are also characterized by functions in the
Degrees of Comparison.
There are three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative and
superlative. The positive form is the plain stem of an adjective
heavy, slow, straight, etc) . The comparative states that one thing
more of the quality named by the adjective than some other thing
(e.g.Henry is taller than John). The superlative states that the thing
has the greatest degree of the quality among the things being
considered (e.g. Henry is the tallest boy in the class) Most
one-syllable adjectives, and most two-syllable adjectives ending in -y,
-ow, -er, or consonant +-le , with loud stress on the first syllable
and weak stress on the second, form their comparative and superlative
by the addition of the suffixes -er and -est.
westprettyprettierprettiestsimplesimplersimplest Adjectives derived by
prefixes from those that use -er/-est also use
these suffixes, even though the addition of prefixes makes them longer
that two syllables: unhappy – unhappier –unhappiest.
All adjectives other than those enumerated above form their
comparative by using the intensifier more and their superlative
by using the intensifier the most.
PositiveComparativeSuperlativeinterestingmore interestingthe most
interestinggenerousmore generousthe most generouspersonalmore
personalthe most personal In a very few cases, English permits a choice
between the two devices:
commoner / more common, commonest / the most common. Ordinary, when
one form is prescribed by the rules, the other is forbidden. A few
adjectives have irregular forms for the degrees of comparison.
good – better – the best
bad – worse – the worst
far – farther – the farthest (for distance)
– further – the furthest (for time and distance)
near – nearer – the nearest (for distance)
– next (for order)
late – later – the latest (for time)
– last (for order)
old – older – the oldest (for age)
– elder – the eldest (for seniority rather the age; used
There are some adjectives that, on account of their meaning, do
admit of comparison at all, e.g. perfect, unique, full, empty,
round, wooden, daily, upper, major, outer, whole, only and some others.
There are sentence patterns in which comparison is expressed:
a) comparison of equality (as … as)
e.g. The boy was as shy as a monkey.
After his bathe, the inspector was as fresh as a fish.
When he had left Paris, it was as cold as in winter there.
b) comparison of inequality (not so … as, not as … as)
e.g. His skin was not so bronzed as a Tahiti native’s.
The sun is not so hot today as I thought it would be.
You are not as nice as people think.
c) comparison of superiority (… –er than, … –est of (in, ever)
e.g. He looked younger than his years, much younger than Sheila or me.
To my mind the most interesting thing in art is the personality
the artist. My mother was the proudest of women, and she was vain, but
in the end she had an eye for truth. It’s the biggest risk I’ve ever
had to take.
d) comparison of inferiority ( less … than)
e.g. John is less musical than his sister.
He had the consolation of noting that his friend was less
e) comparison of parallel increase or decrease (the … the, …-er as)
e.g. The longer I think of his proposal the less I like it.
The sooner this is done, the better.
He became more cautious as he grew older.
There are set phrases which contain the comparative or the
degree of an adjective:
a) a change for the better (for the worst) – ???? к ???у ( к
e.g. There seem to be a change for the better in your uncle. He had a
hearty dinner yesterday.
b) none the less – ?м ? ??е
e.g. It did not take him long to make up his mind. None the less she
her scorn for his hesitation.
c) so much the better ( the worst) – ?м ??е (??)
e.g. If he will help us, so much the better.
If he doesn’t work, so much the worst for him.
d) to be the worst for – ??ть ?о-? ??, ?е ???
e.g. He is rather the worst for drink.
e) no (none the) worse for – ?? ? ??? (? ??о) ? …
e.g. You’ll be no worse for having her to help you.
You are none the worse for the experience.
f) if the worst comes to the worst – в ??? ???
e.g. If the worst comes to the worst, I can always go back home to
g) to go from bad to worse – ?????я ?е ?? и ?же
e.g. Thinks went from bad to worse in the family.
h) as best – в ??ую ?? ?а??я, ?к ??? ??о
e.g. He made a living as best he could.
i) at (the) best – в ??? ???
e.g. She cannot get away from her home for long. At (the) best she can
stay with us for two days.
Substantivization of Adjectives.
Sometimes adjectives become substantivized. In this case they have
the functions of nouns in the sentence and are always preceded by the
definite article. Substantivized adjectives may have two meanings:
1) They may indicate a class of persons in a general sense (e.g. the
poor = poor people, the dead = dead people, etc.) Such adjectives are
plural in meaning and take a plural verb.
e.g. The old receive pensions.
The young are always romantic, aren’t they?
The blind are taught trades in special schools.
If we wish to denote a single person we must add a noun.
e.g. The old man receives a pension.
If we wish to refer to a particular group of persons (not the
class), it is aslo necessary to add a noun.
e.g. The young are usually intolerant.
The young men are fishing.
Some adjectives denoting nationalities (e.g. English, French, Dutch)
used in the same way.
e.g. The English are great lovers of tea.
There were a few English people among the tourists.
2) Substantivized adjectives may also indicate an abstract notion.
they are singular in meaning and take a singular verb.
e.g. The good in him overweighs the bad.
My mother never lost her taste for extravagant.
Syntactic Functions of Adjectives.
Adjectives may serve in the sentence as:
1) an attribute e.g. Do you see the small green boat, which has such an
odd shape? The lights of the farm blazed out in the windy darkness.
Adjectives used as attributes usually immediately precede the
Normally there is no pause between the adjective and the noun.
Such attributes are called close attributes. However, an adjective
placed in pre-position to the noun may be separated from it by a
pause. Then it becomes a loose attribute. e.g. Clever and tactful,
George listened to my story with deep concern.
Yet loose attributes are more often found in post-position to the
e.g. My father, happy and tired, kissed me good-night.
2) a predicative
e.g. Her smile was almost professional.
He looked mature, sober and calm.
3) part of a compound verbal predicate
e.g. He stood silent, with his back turned to the window.
She lay motionless, as if she were asleep.
4) an objective predicative
e.g. I thought him very intelligent.
She wore her hair short.
5) a subjective predicative
e.g. The door was closed tight.
Her hair was dyed blonde.
It should be noted that most adjectives can be used both
and predicatively, but some, among them those beginning with a-, can
be used only as predicatives (e.g. afraid, asleep, along, alive,
ashamed and also content, sorry, well, ill, due, etc.) A few adjectives
can be used only as attributes (e.g. outer, major, minor, only,
whole, former, latter and some others).
Position of Adjectives.
1 Most adjectives can be used in a noun group, after determiners and
numbers if there are any, in front of the noun.
e.g. He had a beautiful smile.
She bought a loaf of white bread.
There was no clear evidence.
2 Most adjectives can also be used after a link verb such as ‘be’,
‘become’, or ‘feel’.
e.g. I’m cold.
I felt angry.
Nobody seemed amused.
3. Some adjectives are normally used only after a link verb.
afraid asleep due ready unable
alive aware glad sorry well
alone content ill sure For example, we can say
‘She was glad’, but you do not talk about ‘a glad
I wanted to be alone.
We were getting ready for bed.
I’m not quite sure.
He didn’t know whether to feel glad or sorry.
4. Some adjectives are normally used only in front of a noun.
eastern existing neighbouring
northern atomic indoor occasional
southern countless introductory outdoor
western digital maximum
For example, we talk about ‘an atomic bomb’, but we do not say ‘The bomb
was atomic’. He sent countless letters to the newspapers.
This book includes a good introductory chapter on forests.
5. When we use an adjective to emphasize a strong feeling or opinion, it
always comes in front of a noun.
absolute outright pure true
complete perfect real utter
entire positive total
Some of it was absolute rubbish.
He made me feel like a complete idiot.
6. Some adjectives that describe size or age can come after a noun group
consisting of a number or determiner and a noun that indicates the unit
Deep long tall wide
high old thick
He was about six feet tall.
The water was several metres deep.
The baby is nine months old.
Note that you do not say ‘two pounds heavy’, you say ‘two pounds in
7. A few adjectives are used alone after a noun.
|designate |elect |galore |incarnate |
She was now the president elect.
There are empty houses galore.
8. A few adjectives have a different meaning depending on whether they
come in front of or after a noun.
concerned involved present proper responsible
For example, ‘the concerned mother’ means a mother who is worried, but
‘the mother concerned’ means the mother who has been mentioned.
It’s one of those incredibly involved stories.
The people involved are all doctors.
I’m worried about the present situation.
Of the 18 people present, I knew only one.
Her parents were trying to act in a responsible manner.
We do not know the person responsible for his death.
Order of Adjectives.
1. We often want to add more information to a noun than you can with
one adjective, so we need to use two or more adjectives. In theory, we
can use the adjectives in any order, depending on the quality
you want to emphasize. In practice, however, there is a normal order.
When we use two or more adjectives in front of a noun, we usually put
an adjective that expresses our opinion in front of an adjective
describes something. e.g. You live in a nice big house. He is a naughty
little boy. She was wearing a beautiful pink suit.
2. When we use more than one adjective to express our opinion, an
adjective with a more general meaning such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘nice’,
or ‘lovely’ usually comes before an adjective with a more specific
meaning such as ‘comfortable’, ‘clean’, or ‘dirty’. e.g. I sat in a
lovely comfortable armchair in the corner. He put on a nice clean shirt.
It was a horrible dirty room.
3. We can use adjectives to describe various qualities of people or
For example, we might want to indicate their size, their shape, or
country they come from. Descriptive adjectives belong to six main
types, but we are unlikely ever to use all six types in the same
noun group. If we did, we would normally put them in the
Size shape age colour nationality material
This means that if we want to use an ‘age’ adjective and a
adjective, we put the ‘age’ adjective first. We met some young Chinese
Similarly, a ‘shape’ adjective normally comes before a
e.g. He had round black eyes.
Other combinations of adjectives follow the same order. Note
‘material’ means any substance, not only cloth.
e.g. There was a large round wooden table in the room.
The man was carrying a small black plastic bag.
4. We usually put comparative and superlative adjectives in front of
e.g. Some of the better English actors have gone to live in Hollywood.
These are the highest monthly figures on record.
5. When we use a noun in front of another noun, we never put
adjectives between them. We put any adjectives in front of the first
e.g. He works in the French film industry.
He receives a large weekly cash payment.
6. When we use two adjectives as the complement of a link verb, we
use a conjunction such as ‘and’ to link them. With three or more
adjectives, we link the last two with a conjunction, and put commas
after the others.
e.g. The day was hot and dusty.
The room was large but square.
The house was old, damp and smelly.
We felt hot, tired and thirsty.
Adjectives with prepositions.
1. When we use an adjective after a link verb, we can often use the
adjective on its own or followed by a prepositional phrase.
e.g. He was afraid.
He was afraid of his enemies.
2. Some adjectives cannot be used alone after a link verb. If they are
followed by a prepositional phrase, it must have a particular
aware of unaware of fond of
accustomed to unaccustomed to used to
e.g. I’ve always been terribly fond of you.
He is unaccustomed to the heat.
3. Some adjectives can be used alone, or followed by a particular
preposition. used alone, or with ‘of ’ to specify the cause of a feeling
afraid critical jealous suspicious
ashamed envious proud terrified
convinced frightened scared tired
They may feel jealous of your success.
I was terrified of her.
used alone, or with ‘of ’ to specify the person who has a quality
brave good polite thoughtful
careless intelligent sensible unkind
clever kind silly unreasonable
generous nice stupid wrong That was
clever of you!
I turned the job down, which was stupid of me.
used alone or with ‘to’, usually referring to:
similarity: close equal identical
marriage: married engaged
loyalty: dedicated devoted loya
rank: junior senior
e.g.My problems are very similar to yours.
He was dedicated to his job.
used alone, or followed by ‘with’ to specify the cause of a feeling
bored displeased impatient pleased
content dissatisfied impressed satisfied
e.g. I could never be bored with football.
He was pleased with her.
used alone or with ‘at’, usually referring to:
strong reactions: amazed astonished shocked surprised
ability: bad excellent good hopeless useless
e.g. He was shocked at the hatred they had shown.
She had always been good at languages.
used alone, or with ‘for’ to specify the person or thing that quality
common essential possible unusual
difficult important unnecessary usual
e.g. It’s difficult for young people on their own.
It was unusual for them to go away at the weekend.
4. Some adjectives can be used alone, or used with different
used alone, with an impersonal subject and ‘of ’ and the subject of the
action, or with a personal subject and ‘to’ and the object of the action
cruel good nasty rude
friendly kind nice unfriendly
generous mean polite unkind
e.g. It was rude of him to leave so suddenly.
She was rude to him for no reason.
o used alone, with ‘about’ to specify a thing or ‘with’ to specify
angry delighted fed up happy
annoyed disappointed furious upset
e.g. She was still angry about the result.
They’re getting pretty fed up with him.
Adjectives with ‘to’-infinitive or ‘that’-clauses
1. After link verbs, we often use adjectives that describe how
feels about an action or situation. With some adjectives, we can
‘to’-infinitive clause or a ‘that’-clause to say what the action
or situation is.
afraid disappointed happy sad
anxious frightened pleased surprised
ashamed glad proud unhappy
If the subject is the same in both clauses, we usually use a
infinitive clause. If the subject is different, we must use a
e.g. I was happy to see them again.
He was happy that they were coming to the party.
We often use a ‘to’-infinitive clause when talking about future time
relation to the main clause.
e.g. I am afraid to go home.
He was anxious to leave before it got dark.
We often use a ‘that’-clause when talking about present or past time
relation to the main clause. e.g. He was anxious that the passport was
missing. They were afraid that I might have talked to the police.
2. We often use ‘sorry’ with a ‘that’-clause. Note that ‘that’ is
e.g. I’m very sorry that I can’t join you.
I’m sorry I’m so late.
3. Some adjectives are not usually used alone, but have a
clause after them to say what action or situation the adjective relates
able due likely unlikely
apt inclined prepared unwilling
bound liable ready willing
e.g. They were unable to help her.
They were not likely to forget it.
I am willing to try.
I’m prepared to say I was wrong.
4. When we want to express an opinion about someone or something, we
often use an adjective followed by a ‘to’-infinitive clause.
difficult easy impossible possible right
e.g. She had been easy to deceive.
The windows will be almost impossible to open.
Am I wrong to stay here?
5. With some adjectives, we use a ‘that’-clause to express an opinion
about someone or something.
awful extraordinary important sad
bad funny interesting true
essential good obvious
e.g. I was sad that people had reacted in this way.
. It is extraordinary that we should ever have met!
6. We can also use adjectives with ‘to’-infinitive clauses after ‘it’
the impersonal subject. We use the preposition ‘of ’ or ‘for’ to
the person or thing that the adjective relates to.
e.g. It was easy to find the path.
It was good of John to help me.
It was difficult for her to find a job.
Adjectives ending in ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’
We use many ‘-ing’ adjectives to describe the effect that something has
our feelings, or on the feelings of people in general. For example, if
talk about ‘a surprising number’, we mean that the number surprises us.
alarming charming embarrassing surprising
amazing confusing exciting terrifying
annoying convincing frightening tiring
astonishing depressing interesting welcoming
boring disappointing shocking worrying
e.g. He lives in a charming house just outside the town.
She always has a warm welcoming smile.
We use some ‘-ing’ adjectives to describe something that continues over
period of time.
ageing decreasing existing living
booming dying increasing remaining
e.g. Britain is an ageing society.
Increasing prices are making food very expensive.
Many ‘-ed’ adjectives describe people’s feelings. They have the same
as the past participle of a transitive verb and have a passive meaning.
example, ‘a frightened person’ is a person who has been frightened by
alarmed delighted frightened surprised amused
depressed interested tired
astonished disappointed satisfied troubled
bored excited shocked worried
e.g. She looks alarmed about something.
A bored student complained to his teacher.
She had big blue frightened eyes.
Note that the past participles of irregular verbs do not end in ‘-ed’,
can be used as adjectives.
e.g. The bird had a broken wing.
His coat was dirty and torn.
4. Like other adjectives, ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’ adjectives can be:
used in front of a noun
They still show amazing loyalty to their parents.
This is the most terrifying tale ever written.
I was thanked by the satisfied customer.
The worried authorities cancelled the match.
used after link verbs
It’s amazing what they can do.
The present situation is terrifying.
He felt satisfied with all the work he had done.
My husband was worried.
modified by adverbials such as ‘quite‘, ‘really‘, and ‘very’
The film was quite boring.
There is nothing very surprising in this.
She was quite astonished at his behaviour.
He was a very disappointed young man.
used in the comparative and superlative
His argument was more convincing than mine.
He became even more depressed after she died.
This is one of the most boring books I’ve ever read.
She was the most interested in going to the cinema.
5. A small number of ‘-ed‘ adjectives are normally only used after link
verbs such as ‘be‘, ‘become‘, or ‘feel‘. They are related to transitive
verbs, and are often followed by a prepositional phrase, a
clause, or a ‘that‘-clause.
convinced interested prepared tired
delighted involved scared touched
finished pleased thrilled worried
e.g. The Brazilians are pleased with the results.
He was always prepared to account for his actions.
She was scared that they would find her.
The subject of our investigation was adjectives. What we have learnt
about adjectives is that most English adjectives have comparative and
superlative forms. These are generally constructed in one of two ways:
either by suffixes (big, bigger, biggest) or by the use of the
grammatical particles more and most. We have investigatedthat some
adjectives have suppletive forms in their comparison, such as good,
better, best. Comparative and superlative forms apply only to the base
form of the adjective, so that duplicate forms like most biggest or
worser are nonstandard (although lesser is sometimes permitted as a
variant of less). A few adjectives have no comparative but a superlative
with -most: uppermost, westernmost, etc. Also it has its own degrees,
such as comparison, etc. Those such as male, female, extant and extinct
which express “absolute” qualities do not admit comparisons: one animal
cannot be more extinct than another. Similarly in a planktonic organism
the adjective planktonic simply means plankton-type; there are no
degrees or grades of planktonic. Other cases are more debatable.
Grammatical prescriptivists frequently object to phrases such as more
perfect on the grounds that something either is perfect or it is not.
However, many speakers of English accept the phrase as meaning more
nearly perfect. An adjective that causes particular controversy in this
respect is unique. The formulations more unique and most unique are
guaranteed to raise the hackles of purists. Which English adjectives are
compared by -er/-est and which by more/most is a complex matter of
English idiom. Generally, shorter adjectives (including most
monosyllabic adjectives), Anglo-Saxon words, and shorter, fully
domesticated French words (e.g. noble) use the suffixes -er/-est.
Adjectives with two syllables vary. Some take either form, and the
situation determines the usage. For example, one will see commoner and
more common, depending on which sounds better in the context.
Two-syllable adjectives that end in the sound [i], most often spelled
with y, generally take -er/-est, e.g., pretty : prettier : prettiest. It
was pleasant to investigate adjectives and we think that it is not the
end of its investigation. We will continue this theme on our diploma
work. Thank you for spending time on reading our course work!
For my practical task I decided to find something extraordinary what we
didn’t learn at school and at university also. It is eponymous
An eponymous adjective is an adjective which has been derived from the
name of a person, real or fictional. Persons from whose name the
adjectives have been derived are called eponyms.
Following is a list of eponymous adjectives in English.
· Aaronic — Aaron (as in Aaronic Priesthood)
· Abbasid — Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (as in Abbasid Dynasty)
· Abelian — Niels Henrik Abel (as in Abelian group)
· Abrahamic — Abraham (as in Abrahamic religions)
· Achillean — Achilles, of Greek mythology
· Adamic — Adam (as in Adamic language); also Adamite (as in pre-Adamite
· Addisonian — Thomas Addison (as in Addisonian crisis)
· Adlerian — Alfred Adler (as in Classical Adlerian psychology)
· Aegean — Aegeus, of Greek mythology (as in Aegean Sea)
· Aeolian — Aeolus, of Greek mythology (as in Aeolian Islands)
· Aeschylean — Aeschylus
· Aldine — Aldus Manutius (as in Aldine Press)
· Alexandrine — Alexander the Great (as in Alexandrine verse); also
Alexandrian (as in Alexandrian period)
· Amperian — Andre-Marie Ampere (as in Amperian loop)
· Antonian — St. Anthony the Great (as in Antonian monasticism);
Antoninus Pius (as in Nervan-Antonian dynasty)
· Antonine — Antoninus Pius (as in Antonine Wall); Marcus Aurelius
1.« Modern English language» (Theoretical course grammar) V.N. Zhigadlo,
I.P. Ivanova, L.L. Iofik. Moscow, 1956 y.
2.“Morphology of the English language”А.I.Smirnitcky. Moscow, 1959 y.
3.“Theoretical grammar of the English language” B.S. Khaimovich, B.I.
Rogovskaya. Moscow, 1967 y.
4. Baker, Mark. 2005. Lexical Categories – Verbs, nouns and adjectives.
Cambridge University Press
5.Dixon, R. M. W. (1977). Where have all the adjectives gone? Studies in
Language, 1, 19-80.
6.Dixon, R. M. W. (1994). Adjectives. In R. E. Asher (Ed.), The
Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (pp. 29-35). Oxford: Pergamon
Press. ISBN 0-08-035943-4. (Republished as Dixon 1999).
7.Dixon, R. M. W. (1999). Adjectives. In K. Brown & T. Miller (Eds.),
Concise encyclopedia of grammatical categories (pp. 1-8). Amsterdam:
Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-043164-X.
8.Warren, Beatrice. (1984). Classifying adjectives. Gothenburg studies
in English (No. 56). Goeteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. ISBN
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