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Attribute Adjectives

An adjective is a "describing word" that describes or modifies a noun. Today we'll take a look at the most basic type of adjective, called an "attribute adjective," which in simple sentences in English usually precedes the noun.

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It's quite a big video!

Caption 32, Adele - The Making of 'Chasing Pavements'

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In the sentence above, the adjective "big" describes the noun "video." If you have more than one adjective, however, it is important to understand they must be put into a particular order: an adjective describing size is mentioned first, then shape or quality, followed by age, color, origin, and, lastly, material. For example:

 

And mix it well into this beautiful red tomato onion paste.

Caption 34, Tara's recipes - Chilli Prawns and Golden Couscous

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In the sentence above, the adjective order is: beautiful (quality), red (color), and tomato onion (materials). The last two are actually nouns that are acting as adjectives. You can see how the order is important, because to say, "And mix it well with this tomato beautiful onion red paste" doesn't make sense!

 

A noun can be used as an adjective too, as in "a stone house", which describes "a house made of stone."  But an adjective can become a noun too:

 

The ever widening gap between the rich and the poor is despicable.

Caption 6, Occupy DC - Barry Knight

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The adjectives "rich" and "poor" become nouns when the article "the" precedes them.

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Further Learning 
Take a look at this list of the most commonly used 500 adjectives in the English language and pick a few out that you are less familiar with, then learn how they are used in context on Yabla.

Grammar

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