Adjectives have several different functions. They describe, quantify or modify the meaning of nouns, noun phrases or pronouns. They are also used to make what you are writing, reading or talking about more ‘vivid’ or ‘complete’.

There are a number of different types of adjectives. We are going to look at examples of:

Descriptive adjectives or adjectives of quality
Adjectives of quantity
Idiomatic adjectives
Adjectives from verbs


Task One – Descriptive Adjectives
Descriptive adjectives fall into several different categories. Common ones include:
  • Colours: red, yellow, silver
  • Opinions: cheap, cold, ugly
  • Qualities: good, strict, average
  • Age: antique, young, ancient
  • Material: gold, glass, wood
  • Sizes: huge, big, tiny
  • Origin/Location: southern, Spanish, Latin
  • Speed: fast, rapid, accelerate

1. The problem with buying fake brand name handbags is that they are so cheap looking. Opinion
2. In order to maintain discipline in your class it is important to be a strict teacher. Quality Qualities
3. Lara’s boyfriend gave her a beautiful gold ring for her birthday. Material
4. Is it true that bulls get angry when they see a red flag? Colours
5. That antique vase your grandmother gave you must be at least 60 years old. Age
6. I can never keep up with you. You’re such a fast walker. Speed
7. I love Antonio Banderas’s Spanish accent; it is so sexy! Origin
8. My friend has such tiny feet that she often has to buy children’s shoes. Size Sizes

Task Two - Adjectives from Nouns
Some nouns can be made into adjectives by adding a suffix. The noun ‘child’ is changed to the adjective ‘childish’ when the suffix ‘-ish’ is added e.g. Eric’s childish behavior often annoys his girlfriend.

Other suffixes that can create adjectives from nouns include:

ly ic al ous y less

Select correct suffix after the nouns in the box below.


Complete the sentences with the newly formed adjectives.

1. If I eat too much for lunch I usually have a very sleepy afternoon.
2. Now is a critical time for you to make a decision about your career.
3. The poetic lyrics were listened to in a hushed silence.
4. I think you’re mad to go sky diving it’s such a dangerous activity.
5. The Japanese are very friendly people.
6. That was a very careless mistake you made.

Task Three – Adjectives ending in ‘ed’ and ‘ing’
The meanings of adjectives ending in ‘ed’ and ‘ing’ are sometimes confused. Those ending in ‘ed’ describe feelings, whereas those ending in ‘ing’ relate opinions e.g. The seminar was boring. (My opinion)
The ‘ed’ ending describes how you feel about the person or thing, e.g. I was bored in my seminar today. (My feeling)

Choose the correct option from the drop down box.

1. This map is very as it doesn’t show where the MTR stations are.
2. The results of the election are really as I was expecting to get a lot more votes.
3. My cousin is so about his trip to Korea.
4. Cheer up. Don’t look so ; you will pass your driving test next time.
5. Have you heard the latest news?
6. Weren’t you telling the whole class about your boyfriend?

Task Four - Adjectives of quantity or numeric adjectives
These describe the amount or approximate amount of the noun or pronoun.

China came first in the 2012 Olympic medal table.

Tons of rubbish goes into landfills in Hong Kong.

Fill in the gaps with an appropriate adjective.


1. Paul has little imagination when it comes to brainstorming ideas.
2. I’ve only visited Paris one time in the last few years.
3. Don’t keep spending hundreds of dollars on Mark Six lottery tickets, you’ll never win.
4. There are a few chocolates left so take one before they all go.
5. It’s better to have several options than just one or two.

Task Five – Idiomatic adjectives
Here are some examples of idiomatic adjectives.

Blind as a bat - means you cannot see well

I am as blind as a bat without my glasses.

Out of the bluemeans unexpected

Jake asked Bella to marry him out of the blue.

Here are some more examples. Complete the sentences with the correct idiom.

  • Fit as a fiddle
  • On cloud nine
  • Under the weather
  • Spick and span
1. Poor Jack has been feeling under the weather for several days now; I think he must have the flu.
2. My sister’s room is always so untidy unlike mine which is usually spick and span .
3. I imagine you’ll find hiking in the Himalayas pretty easy as you’re fit as a fiddle .
4. Lara has been on cloud nine since she won the speech contest.

Task Six
Some verbs can be transformed into adjectives. Examples:

Whenever you win a point I love looking at your smiling faces.

I’ve been told it’s advisable to take malaria pills if travelling to Africa.

You always have such creative ideas. I wish I could be more like you.

My favourite drink is frozen chocolate milk.

Complete the sentences below with the correct form. Make any necessary changes.

1. Molly is a very attractive girl. All the boys in our group want to go out with her. (attract)
2. Firemen need to wear protective clothing so they do not get burnt. (protect)
3. We had a very enjoyable evening last night at the concert. (enjoy)
4. Be careful of that broken glass on the floor. (break)
5.. Paul’s dad bought him a new fishing rod for his birthday. (fish)

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