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Characteristics of adjectives
Single words (nice) or compounds (hard-working) identifying Ns,
When considered morphologically, typical endings include: -able/-ible, -al, -ed, -ful, -ic, -ish, -ive, -less, -ous, -y, -ing.
Syntactic functions:
- (a) pre-modifiers of Ns (Happy people are seldom angry.)
- (b) subject complements (I am happy.)
- © Object complement (I want to make him happy.)
- post-modifiers (You can buy something nice.)

Characteristics of adjectives cont.
Most adjectives can be used both attributively (as pre-modifiers: An expensive dress …) and predicatively (as subject complements: The dress was expensive.). These are central adjectives.
Adjectives used attributively only: utter happiness, sheer blessing, sole occupant, chief executive, very beginning.
Adjectives used predicatively only: afraid of, fond of, aware of, etc.

Position of adjectives
Pre-modification; follow a specific order: my own opinion / size-weight / age / shape / color / participle / origin / material / purpose
Post-modification: somebody important, the president elect, secretary general, the people absent, etc.
Discontinuous: the easiest unit to teach, the greatest insult imaginable, etc.
Classification of adjectives
Nominal - used as the head of a NP, most often introduced by ‘the’ and have a singular form, but plural meaning (groups of people - the rich; ethnic groups or nationalities - the Swiss)
Emphasizing - (a) restrictive: chief, main, principal, only, etc. and (b) intensifying: absolute, complete, real, sheer, etc.
Classification of adjectives cont.
Describing - already mentioned, appear in a set order
Classifying - location, origin, material, type, purpose
Used in the following manner: emphasizing + describing + classifying (principal recent concern, real red rubies, recent economic crisis)
Participle adjectives - present participle - source/cause of feeling; past participle - how one feels.

Classification of adjectives cont.
Compound adjectives
- (adjective + adverb or noun) + present/past participle
slow-moving traffic - active Vs
well-planned journey - passive Vs
- adjectives + noun or adverb + adjective
fast-food restaurants, front-row seats, highly- sensitive people
Use of adjectives
Used in the set order
Usually no punctuation (comma) or linker between two adjectives expect in the following cases:
- comma between two adjectives of the same type that can easily change their order (a normal, quiet, rather shy teenager),
- use ‘and’ between two colors or two classifying adjectives of the same type (black and white TV),
- comma between the first two adjectives and ‘and’ between the last two adjectives in a set of three colors or three classifying adjectives of the same type (red, orange and yellow scarf)
Gradability of adjectives
Most adjectives are gradable and their gradability is expressed by: intensifiers (quite, somewhat, very, incredible, etc.) or comparison (higher: Frank is taller than Pete.; same: Frank is as tall as Pete.; lower: Frank is less tall than Pete.)
- monosyllabic adjectives (calm, tall): inflections,
- disyllabic adjectives (common, gentle, clever): either inflections or pre-modification,
- more-syllable adjectives: pre-modification (except: uncommon, unhappy, unhealthy)
Gradability of adjectives cont.
Irregular comparison: good, bad, far, many/much, little, old
Disyllabic adjectives with dual comparison: funny, wealthy, noisy, friendly, hollow, narrow, shallow, gentle, noble, clever, mature.
Gradable adjectives (tall, cold, etc.) take the following intensifiers: very, extremely, really, particularly, quite, pretty, fairly, rather, a bit.
Extreme or absolute adjectives (amazing, freezing, superb, wonderful, etc.) take the following intensifiers: absolutely, really, utterly, just, completely.

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