BerkswichCE Primary School

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Adjectives (Juniors)

What is an adjective?

An adjective is a word which tells you more about a noun or a pronoun. It tells you what something is like.


Examples in action (Adjectives   Nouns)

I shoved on my floppy hat.

The brave teenager rescued the dog.

Jittering roof tiles began to rattle and a rusty gate swung                                                       back and forth.


Where can they be found?

Usually, an adjective comes before a noun, but sometimes it can be separated and come afterwards.

Ben looked nervous. The path was narrow.

These still describe the noun, but come after the verb.


Making adjectives

Some adjectives can be made by adding a suffix to a noun. For example, beauty can be made into beautiful and adventure can be changed into adventurous.


You can made hyphenated adjectives. For example, if someone is very warm and generous and has a big heart, then you can describe them as big-hearted. It is hyphenated, since you are not saying that they are big and hearted!


Watch out!

  • Try not to think just about an adjective as a describing word. There are many other types of words that are very descriptive; for example, swishing and flickered can be used as descriptive verbs.


  • Remember to look to see if the word is being used as an adjective.

Creaking gates swung back and forth.

In this sentence, creaking is being used as an adjective to tell the reader more about the gates.

The gates were creaking back and forth.

In this sentence, creaking is being used as a verb.


  • Try not to use ones that are obvious like, ‘orange orange’ or ’brown wood.’ There are other adjectives that the reader does not need to be told about; why tell the reader that the giant is big. They usually are! You would perhaps only say, ‘the small mouse,’ if you were trying to emphasise the fact that it was vulnerable.


  • Try not to describe something that you do not want the reader to focus on. For example, do you really want to describe the door handle of the door that has just swung open when there is an angry giant about to attack?


You are the writer; you are in charge!

Make decisions that force the reader to feel the way you want them to feel and understand what you want them to understand.


Feel the power of adjectives!

Since adjective tell the reader more about a noun, they create a clearer picture of what is being described. Look at how different choices can change the ‘picture’ that has been created…

  • From between the big trees, a tall figure appeared.
  • From between the thick trees, a grinning figure appeared.
  • From between spindly trees, a hooded figure appeared.
  • From between dark, looming trees, an ominous figure appeared.


Different adjectives can affect the reader in different ways. Which of these two examples do you prefer?

Biscuit anyone?


Challenge yourself!


!       You have used 2A phrases. Now, watch out for the comma, as this can change          the meaning.

It was a cold, dark evening in Down Street. Cold and dark describe the evening, so a comma is needed.


She paused with her hand on the tired, old gate. The gate was tired and old, so a comma is needed.


Have a look at the same words punctuated differently…


She stared through dark green eyes means that her eyes are a dark green. She stared through dark, green eyes means that her eyes are dark and green. The second one could make the girl seem more angry or threatening.


!   Adjective, same adjective

Try out this pattern, using the same adjective twice. Add a comma before the second one.

It was a silent town, silent in a way that did not make you feel restful.


!   Adjective and adverb made from the adjective

Use an adjective in the first descriptive part of the sentence and then add further detail (usually an action) using an adverb made from the adjective.

It was a spooky place - even the branches of the trees moved spookily.

Recycling is easy, and this explanation will demonstrate just how easily you can recycle in your own home.


!   Two pairs of adjectives

Although using too many adjectives can over-load a sentence, there are times when more work well. Try using two pairs in a type of list.

Injured and terrified, shell-shocked and lost, he wandered aimlessly across the battlefield.


!   Getting worse/getting better

Using an adjective and then its comparative and superlative form can be very effective.

Wasting water is damaging, littering is even more destructive, but the most catastrophic environmental habit is producing air pollution.



!   Adjective pairs in parenthesis

This is another skill that can be used in fiction and non-fiction writing.

Sam - confident and humorous - made even the meanest child warm to him.

Squirrels - cunning and ingenious - can usually manage to steal the nuts, whatever has been put in place to stop them.