Descriptive adjectives

A descriptive adjective

is a word that describes things or people.

An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun and gives them a more specific meaning.

The chair is in the room. Chair is a noun.

  • The big chair is in the room. Big is an adjective that describes the noun.
  • The big blue chair is in the room. Big and blue are adjectives that describe the noun.
  • The beautiful big blue chair is in the room. Beautiful, big, and blue are adjectives that describe the noun.

Adjectives can describe

  • AGE
  • SIZE
  • TIME

When we use adjectives, we provide a more specific description of the noun

We usually place adjectives in this order:

Opinion, attitudes, observations: beautiful, clean, elegant, fancy, handsome, interesting, magnificent, plain, ugly

Size, height: big, huge, large, small, tall, tiny

Temperature: cold, hot, warm, tepid, boiling, freezing

Age, new or old? antique, old, new, retro, young

Shape, weight, length: flat, long, oblong, round, square

Colour: blue, green, orange, pink, purple, red, reddish

Condition, state: clean, damp, dry, happy, hungry, rich, sad, healthy, sick

Pattern: checkered, crisscross, flecked, flowered, flowery, linear, shapeless, spotted, striped

Origin: African, American, Belgian, British, Canadian, English, French, Indian, Italian, Irish, Moroccan, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Welsh

Material: acrylic, aluminum, bamboo, bronze, cardboard, concrete, copper, gold, plastic, silver, steel, wood

Purpose: driving, flying, gardening, listening, riding, shopping, swimming, typing


  • A nice young lady wearing a purple retro skirt and flowery top gave me directions to the store.
  • The small brown wet puppy was playing with the gardening hose.
  • There are many new students this year. Only a brave few attended the information session.
  • Is this the one you want? No, I want the blue one.
  • The two lovely large cats are old, but they are healthy and happy.

Tip: Sometimes, we use present and past participles as adjectives.

  • What is the description? Present participle.
  • What is the effect? Past participle.
    • It is an interesting sport. Describes the singular noun sport.
    • I am interested in sports. Effect on me?
    • The presentation was boringDescribes the singular noun presentation.
    • He was bored. Effect on him?
    • Adjectives can be confusingDescribes the plural noun adjectives.
    • We are confused. Effect on us?
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