The adjective is a part of speech which denotes the property of substance. This is the nominative class of words though functionally limited as compared with nouns. This means that adjectives are not supposed to name objects: they can only describe them in terms of the material they are made of, their colour, size, quality, etc:
e.g. red, white, big, high, long, good, kind, happy
Therefore they find themselves semantically and syntactically bound with nouns or pronouns.
e.g. We bought white paint. We painted the door white. She is a happy woman. She is happy. He made her happy.
e) Possessive: my, your, his, her, its, our, their
f) Of quality: clever, dry, fat, golden, good, heavy, square
According to their way of nomination adjectives fall into two groups − qualitative and relative.
Qualitative adjectives denote such properties as size, colour, physical or mental qualities, etc. which a living being or an object, etc. may possess in various degrees and thus their amount or quantity can be measured
e.g. a clever boy, a very clever boy, rather a clever boy, such a clever boy;
a big house, a very big house, rather a big house, such a big house.
Relative adjectives describe properties of a substance through relation to:
Nouns that refer to substances, places, seasons and parts of a whole can be used as adjectives. Some substance words have adjectives ending with the suffix -en: wooden, woollen, golden.
e.g. These are cotton trousers. They are my summer clothes.
As many adjectives have a wide range of meaning, and may be used metaphorically, always check their meaning in a dictionary.
e.g. Janet is a heavy smoker. (= she smokes a lot)
I walked away with heavy heart. (= idiom: I felt sad or depressed)
This is a heavy responsibility. (= serious)
Heavy fighting continued all day. (= involving many people and weapons)
The lecture was a bit heavy going. (= hard to understand)
Exercise 1. Complete each sentence with an adjective from the list. Use a dictionary to check the meaning.
fine great heavy high light long low narrow open short small wide
1. We didn't want to eat too much before the theatre, so we just had a lightmeal.
2. Jane is a very easy person to talk to, and is very friendly and .
3. There was a shower of rain, and we got soaked through.
4. Bill was very thirsty and ordered a drink.
5. They didn't have a lot to say to one another, but spent the time on talk.
6. His name is Alexander, or Alex for .
7. If you're looking for gifts, try Bentley's which sells a selection of local products.
8. There's a very line between being surprised and being amazed.
9. Julia and I are friends, and we get on really well.
10. I think it's time you stopped watching television and did same work!
11. Ellis scored in the last minute, giving the team a 89-88 victory.
12. The government has promised to do more to help people on incomes.
Exercise 2. Decide whether the words underlined are acting as adjectives or adverbs.
A. 1. Some people think modern paintings are 'difficult'. 2. They find them confusing because they are not 'pictures'. 3. They say that a good photograph would be better. 4. At least, they say, a photo does show the real world. 5. It's also hard to persuade them that the artist worked hard. 6. Some modern painting could easily have been painted by a child. 7. Artists sometimes make the situation more difficult. 8. They write explanations of their work which can seem unnecessary. 9. They may not seem to have very much connection with the art. 10. Still, if the work seems interesting then it is worth looking at.
B. 1. We had a lovely time in the hotel. 2. All the staff greeted us warmly. 3. And they spoke to us very politely. 4. Most people we met in the town were very friendly. 5. You certainly never feel lonely in a place like this! 6. The night life is also very lively. 7. We are very likely to go back next year. 8. We would certainly thoroughly recommend it.
Exercise 3. Choose the right word from the brackets − an adjective or an adverb.
1. There was a (happy, happily) smile on her face. 2. The (heavy, heavily) suitcase was killing him. 3. Ben won (easy, easily). 4. That's a (real, really) different question. 5. She had a (sweet, sweetly) dream. 6. The jacket is made of (real, really) wool. 7. The rain fell (heavy, heavily). 8. Meggy plays the piano (good, well). 9. Irene danced (happy, happily). 10. The young girl watched him (shy, shyly). 11. The dog looked at the meat (hungry, hungrily). 12. He writes (good, well). 13. There was a (terrible, terribly) storm. 14. She gave us a (general, generally) idea. 15. The poor puppy looked (hungry, hungrily). 16. This lake looks (clean, cleanly) enough to swim in. 17. We were (terrible, terribly) late. 18. Her (new, newly) made dress looked fantastic. 19. He doesn't do (good, well) at his English. 20. They moved (quiet, quietly) through the hall. 21. Our teacher gives us a test (occasional, occasionally). 22. I thought (high, highly) of the proposal. 23. When the snake strikes, its mouth opens (wide, widely). 24. This professor is (wide, widely) known at the University. 25. On my days off I wake up later than (usual, usually). 26. He had (regular, regularly) features. 27. Her (home, homely) appearance made me feel happy. 28. "Take it (easy, easily)," I said to my friend.