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By Judy Vorfeld

How Adjectives Work with Nouns and Pronouns

ADJECTIVE: a word or phrase that describes what kind, how many, or which one. Adjectives can con­sist of a sin­gle word, a phrase, or a clause. Adjectives mod­ify (or explain) the mean­ing of nouns (see below) and pro­nouns (see below).

NOUN: name of a per­son, place, thing, activ­ity, idea, quality.

PRONOUN: a word used in place of a noun, e.g., I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, whose, which, what, that, these, those, each, either, any, any­one, some­one, myself, your­self, him­self, etc.

You usu­ally find adjec­tives before the nouns they mod­ify (her gray hair) but they can come at the end of a sen­tence (Her hair is gray).

Some words are also used as both adjec­tives and adverbs, e.g., “best, deep, fast, hard, quick and long.” You may need to look at the sen­tence and see the func­tion in order to decide.

ADJECTIVE: He’s a *fast run­ner
ADVERB: He runs *fast

Adjectives can only mod­ify nouns or pro­nouns. And if I may be blunt, don’t use adjec­tives (or adverbs) if you don’t need them. They have their place, but some­times dilute the power of a sentence.

Professor Charles Darling: Adjectives
University of Ottawa: What is an Adjective?


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