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What Is An Adjective?
An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.
In the following examples, the highlighted words are adjectives:
* The truck-shaped balloon floated over the treetops.
* Mrs. Morrison papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper.
* The smallboat foundered on the wine dark sea.
* The coal mines are dark and dank.
* Many stores have already begun to play irritating Christmas music.
* A battered music box sat on the mahogany sideboard.
* The back room was filled with large, yellow rain boots.
An adjective can be modified by an adverb, or by a phrase or clause functioning as an adverb. In the sentence my husband knitsintricately patterned mittens. For example, the adverb "intricately" modifies the adjective "patterned."Some nouns, many pronouns, and many participle phrases can also act as adjectives.
In the sentence Eleanor listened to the muffled sounds of the radio hidden under her pillow. For example, both highlighted adjectives are past participles.
Grammarians also consider articles ("the," "a," "an") tobe adjectives.
Possessive Adjectives
A possessive adjective ("my," "your," "his," "her," "its," "our," "their") is similar or identical to a possessive pronoun; however, it is used as an adjective and modifies a noun or a noun phrase, as in the following sentences: I can't complete my assignment because I don't have the textbook. In this sentence, the possessive adjective "my" modifies"assignment" and the noun phrase "my assignment" functions as an object. Note that the possessive pronoun form "mine" is not used to modify a noun or noun phrase. What is your phone number?
Here the possessive adjective "your" is used to modify the noun phrase "phone number"; the entire noun phrase "your phone number" is a subject complement. Note that the possessive pronoun form "yours" is not used tomodify a noun or a noun phrase. The bakery sold his favorite type of bread.
In this example, the possessive adjective "his" modifies the noun phrase "favorite type of bread" and the entire noun phrase "his favorite type of bread" is the direct object of the verb "sold." After many years, she returned to her homeland.
Here the possessive adjective "her" modifies the noun "homeland" and the nounphrase "her homeland" is the object of the preposition "to." Note also that the form "hers" is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases. We have lost our way in this wood.
In this sentence, the possessive adjective "our" modifies "way" and the noun phrase "our way" is the direct object of the compound verb "have lost". Note that the possessive pronoun form "ours" is not used to modify nouns or nounphrases. In many fairy tales, children are neglected by their parents.
Here the possessive adjective "their" modifies "parents" and the noun phrase "their parents" is the object of the preposition "by." Note that the possessive pronoun form "theirs" is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases. The cat chased its ball down the stairs and into the backyard.
In this sentence, the possessiveadjective "its" modifies "ball" and the noun phrase "its ball" is the object of the verb "chased." Note that "its" is the possessive adjective and "it's" is a contraction for "it is."
Demonstrative Adjectives
The demonstrative adjectives "this," "these," "that," "those," and "what" are identical to the demonstrative pronouns, but are used as adjectives to modify nouns or noun phrases, as in thefollowing sentences. When the librarian tripped over that cord, she dropped a pile of books. In this sentence, the demonstrative adjective "that" modifies the noun "cord" and the noun phrase "that cord" is the object of the preposition "over." This apartment needs to be fumigated.
Here "this" modifies "apartment" and the noun phrase "this apartment" is the subject of the sentence. Even though my...
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