Are Adjectives Action Words?Facts You Should Know


Well, I hope all of us might know what adjectives are and what actions words are. But is there any link between adjectives and action words? Are adjectives action words? In this article, we will be finding out the answers for all such questions.

Adjectives can be best called as describing words, words that describe or qualify the nouns in the sentence. Action words are nothing but verbs. Verbs in simple terms can be referred to as action words, words that perform an action. Are adjectives action words? Let us see that below.

Are adjectives action words?

No, not all adjectives are action words. All adjectives cannot be action words as they do not always perform any action. Adjectives are describing words that modify the nouns in a sentence.

Example: Suhasini is a graceful dancer.

In this sentence, ‘graceful’ is the adjective as it is describing the noun ‘Suhasini’. The adjective ‘graceful’ is not an action word, as it is not performing any action.

But however, there are a few exceptions when adjectives can be action words or verbs and these adjectives are called as verbal adjectives.

Example: My grandfather walks with a walking stick.

In this sentence, ‘walking’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘stick’. ‘Walking’ is also an action word, as it denotes the action of walk. Hence, in this sentence, the adjective ‘walking’ is an action word.

When can Adjectives be action words?

As already said, not all adjectives are action words. Adjectives can be action words when they are derived from verbs (words that perform actions). The following are the two instances when adjectives can be action words.

1. Some adjectives can be action words, when they are in the present participle form of a verb (action word) and when they modify the noun in the sentence.

Example: I met a very annoying person on the train.

In this sentence, ‘annoying’ is the adjective which is also an action word. Here the adjective ‘annoying’ is the present participle form of the verb ‘annoy’. ‘Annoying’ is the adjective here, as it is describing the noun ‘person’ in this sentence. Hence the adjective ‘annoying’ here can be called as verbal adjective as it is derived from the verb or action word ‘annoy’.

2. Some adjectives can be action words, when they are in the past participle form of a verb (action word) and when they modify the noun in the sentence.

Example: The entire hall consisted of many learned men from various fields of study.

In this sentence, ‘learned’ is the adjective, which is also an action word. Here, the adjective ‘learned’ is the past participle form of the verb ‘learn’. ‘Learned’ is the adjective here, as it is describing the noun ‘men’ in this sentence. Hence the adjective ‘learned’ here can be called as a verbal adjective as it is derived from the verb or action word ‘learn’.

Examples of adjectives that are not action words

Go through the following examples to know about adjectives which are not action words.

Adjective examples with detailed explanations

Now let us analyze the adjectives in each and every sentence in detail and understand why they are not action words.

1. Rahul is the tallest boy of our class.

In this sentence, ‘tallest’ is the adjective as it is describing the height of the noun ‘boy’. Here, the adjective ‘Tallest’ is not an action word as it is not performing any action.

2. The seminar was attended by only few students.

In this sentence, ‘few’ is the adjective as it is describing the number of the noun ‘students’. Here, the adjective ‘few’ is not an action word as it is not doing any activity.

3. Pihu was wearing a gorgeous red dress on her birthday.

In this sentence, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘red’ are the adjectives as they are qualifying the appearance and the color of the noun ‘dress’. Here, the adjectives ‘gorgeous’ and ‘red’ are not action words as they are not performing any activity.

4. My friend, Ritu lives in a palatial house.

In this sentence, ‘palatial’ is the adjective as it is describing the nature and the appearance of the noun ‘house’. Here, the adjective ‘palatial’ is not an action word as it is not performing any action.

5. The restaurant serves delicious desserts.

In this sentence, ‘delicious’ is the adjective as it is modifying the taste of the noun ‘desserts’. Here, the adjective ‘delicious’ is not an action word as it is not performing any action.

Examples of adjectives that are action words

Go through the following examples to know about adjectives which are action words.

Adjective examples with detailed explanations

Now let us analyze the adjectives in each and every sentence in detail and understand why they are action words.

1. Sujith was the winner of the running race.

In this sentence, ‘running’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘race’. Here, the adjective ‘running’ (verbal adjective) is an action word as it is the present participle form of the verb ‘run’.

2. The confused look on Pritam’s face said it all.

In this sentence, ‘confused’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘look’. Here, the adjective ‘confuse’ (verbal adjective) is an action word as it is the past participle form of the verb ‘confuse’.

3. My mother always loved to enjoy the sight of the setting sun.

In this sentence, ‘setting’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘sun’. Here, the adjective ‘setting’ (verbal adjective) is an action word as it is the present participle form of the verb ‘set’.

4. Most of them were attracted by his charming face.

In this sentence, ‘charming’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘face’. Here, the adjective ‘charming’ (verbal adjective) is an action word as it is the present participle form of the verb ‘charm’.

5. We always drink boiled water at home.

In this sentence, ‘boiled’ is the adjective as it is modifying the noun ‘water’. Here, the adjective ‘boiled’ (verbal adjective) is an action word as it is the past participle form of the verb ‘boil’.

Are all action words adjectives?

No, not all action words are adjectives. The present participle form of the verb (action word) and the past participle form of the verb (action word) become adjectives only when they qualify or modify the noun in the sentence.

Example: Villagers believed ghost haunted that house.

In this sentence, ‘haunted’ is only an action word and not an adjective, as it is not qualifying any noun.

Example: Rihaan was scared of passing by the haunted house.

In this sentence, ‘haunted’ is an adjective (verbal adjective) and an action word as it is modifying the noun ‘house’ and is the past participle of the verb ‘haunt’

Example: It was amazing to see the amazing performance by my students.

In this sentence, the first ‘amazing’ is only an action word and not an adjective as it is not describing or qualifying a noun. The second ‘amazing’ is an adjective, as it is modifying the noun ‘performance’. The second ‘amazing’ is a verbal adjective, as it is both describing the noun and is derived from the present participle form of the verb ‘amaze’.

Hence, we came to know that action words can sometimes be adjectives. But they can be called as adjectives only when they modify or describe the nouns in the sentences.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

Recent Posts