Adjectives are parts of speech. But, it is difficult to point out an adjective based only on its definition.

However, there are three methods for the recognition of many adjectives. They are based on (1) their position in a sentence and (2) on their form and (3) by the structures in which they occur . I wonder if you could give me your opinion of these three methods. These methods are as follows:

[1] Recognizing adjectives based on their position:

Adjectives are describing words. They describe or, modify nouns. A modifier should be placed as close as possible to the word it modifies. So, we can recognize an adjective by its proximity to a noun. There are two places where an adjective can be placed. [i] Before a noun, as in: `He is an honest man`. And, [ii] after the verb, as in: `The girl is nice`.

We see that when an adjective comes before a noun it has an article preceding it. So, if we see an article we can guess that there is a noun following and if there is a word, or, words in between the noun and the article, we can guess that they are adjectives. When the adjective follows the verb, the verb, usually, does not show deliberate action, as in: `He looked calm` and `The girl is beautiful` etc.

[2] Recognizing adjectives based on their form:

An adjective also compares two things. When two nouns are being compared the adjective has the suffix `–er` as in ` That boy is taller than his friend` and `This table is smaller than the other`. If the adjective has more than two syllables then it has `more` prefixing it. For example, ` He is more intelligent than his friend`. We can thus recognize the comaprative by these two affixes.

When more than two nouns are being compared then the adjective takes the suffix `-est`, or, the prefix `most`, as in: ` He is the tallest boy in the class` and `This girl is the most beautiful of all`. So, we can also recognize the superlative form by these two affixes as well as by the definite article, `the`, preceding the adjective. [The definite article shows things which are unique as does the superlative form].

When the positive form is used we usually find the indefinite articles before the noun, as in: `There is a big book on the table` and `There is an old elephant in the zoo`.

So, we can recognize the positive and superlative forms by the presence of the indefinite or, definite article before them. However, there are exceptions like `This is the bigger of the two books` etc.
Adjectives also take the following suffixes: `-ish`, as in `boyish looks`, `-ful`, as in: `plentiful harvest`, `-some`, as in ` handsome boy`, `-ous`, as in: ` `pious mendicant`, `-al`, as in ` biblical lore` etc.
There is also the present participle which is used as an adjective. We can recognize this by the suffix `-ing`, as in `These are exciting times` and ` Smoking indoors is not allowed`.
If we see any of these affixes then that word is probably an adjective.

[3] Recognizing adjectives based on the structures they occur in:

When adjectives are used to compare we have the following structures, [i] as….. as, in positive sentences which compare two or, more than two nouns using the positive form of the adj, as in: `He is as tall as his friends`. For negative sentences which compare two or, more than two nouns we have the structure, `not as/ so ……. as`. For example: `He is not as tall as his friends` and `She is not as intelligent as her friends` and ` That dog is not so fierce as they suppose`.

So, if we see these structures we can recognize an adjective as well.

Please tell me what you think of this.

Add new comment

Log in or register to post comments