Are Adjectives Describing Words:Comparative Analysis


In this article, we will answer the question: are adjectives describing words? 

Adjectives describe or modify—that is, they limit or restrict the meaning of—nouns and pronouns. 

Adjectives describe what? 

Adjectives can be used to describe the physical or abstract qualities of nouns, as well as used to describe the quantity of how many nouns there are. 

Example 1: The soup was tangy and refreshing. 

Example 2: Her hands were sticky with sweat. 

Example 3: The car screeched to a halt. 

Example 4: She dabbed a floral scent on her wrists before leaving the house. 

Example 5: The morning was foggy and cold.  

Why are adjectives descriptive words? 

Adjectives are considered descriptive words because they’re usually placed before nouns or pronouns in order to describe how the noun/pronoun either looks, tastes, smells, sounds, or feels. The table below lists some common descriptive adjectives: 

TasteTouchSoundSmell Sight
Tangy Rough RattlingAcrid Beautiful 
Salty Smooth ScreechingFishy Ugly 
Sweet Slimy  Echoing Musky Verdant  
BitterHot RingingFragrantFoggy 
Umami Abrasive TinklingHeady Enormous
Acidic Soft GurglingNauseatingSpotted 
Crunchy ElasticDissonant Fruity Breathtaking
Tart Sticky Melodious Floral Dark 
Zesty Slippery Jingle Woodsy Delicate 
Chewy Furry Shuffle Rank Shiny 

Are all adjectives descriptive? 

No, not all adjectives are descriptive. Some adjectives modify a noun by restricting its possibilities without giving any specific descriptions regarding the noun. These are called limiting adjectives, and they aren’t descriptive. 

Are all describing words adjectives? 

No, not all describing words are adjectives. Adverbs can often look like adjectives, and they are used to describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. It’s very common for adverbs to end in -ly. Here’s a list of common adverbs and examples of how they could be used in sentences: 

Carefully She always ran carefully in order to avoid bumping into people. 
Very He was very tired after a long day at work. 
BehindThe elephant is behind the tree. 
SometimesI don’t like wasting time, but sometimes I let myself spend hours browsing the internet. 
Tonight I’m going out dancing tonight. 
Clumsily She clumsily tied her laces before walking through the school doors. 
Extremely He was extremely fond of his sister. 
DownstairsShe started hurriedly walking downstairs when she heard a sound coming from the kitchen.  
AlwaysLily and Isha promised to always be best friends. 
LaterI’m busy right now, I’ll join you guys later. 

Read more about Slash Examples

Do adjectives describe nouns? 

Yes, they do. 

Do adjectives describe verbs? 

No, adverbs describe verbs. Adjectives only describe nouns and pronouns. 

Do adjectives describe pronouns? 

Yes, they do. Adjectives are used to describe both nouns and pronouns. 

Read more about Oxymoron vs Juxtaposition

Do adjectives describe other adjectives? 

No, adjectives can’t be used to describe other adjectives. However, adverbs may be used to describe/modify adjectives. 

Do adjectives describe adverbs? 

No, adjectives only describe nouns and pronouns. Adverbs can describe/modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.  

Read more about Derivational Suffix

When are adjectives not descriptive? 

Limited adjectives aren’t descriptive.

These can include adjectives that provide a numerical limit to the noun, or help indicate a particular object. 

Limiting adjectives include the following: 

  1. Articles: the, a, an 
  2. Possessive adjectives: my, our, its, their, his, her, yours
  3. Numbers: one, two, three, first, second, third…
  4. Indefinite adjectives: all, another, any, none, one, other, some, such, whole
  5. Demonstrative adjectives: this, these, those, that
  6. Proper adjectives: Indian, Korean, American…

Now, let’s look at some examples of limiting adjectives in sentences: 

Example 1: She left the kitchen door open while cooking. 

Example 2: Is that a dog or a wolf? 

Example 3: There’s an antelope behind that tree. 

Example 4: This is my first serving of ice cream. 

Example 5: This isn’t our bus stop. We are still fifteen minutes away from our destination. 

Example 6: All I want is another chance to prove myself.  

Example 7: Those days were some of the best days of their lives. 

Example 8: Her mother is Bengali and her father is Korean. 

Example 9: That movie was yet another disappointment. 
Example 10: I spent the whole day worrying about you. 

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