Modifiers to Adjectives

Express how much or to what degree

Golden Gate
 

 

Number-Noun and Adverb Modifiers

MEASUREMENT MOFIERS

A specified amount can modify an adjective. The measurement takes the form of a number and a unit that measures dimension. The modifier tells us: How wide? How long? How high? How deep? or How tall?

SUBJECT - VERB NUMBER-NOUN ADJECTIVE

The bridge towers are

746 feet / 227 meters

tall. 

The roadway is

500 feet / 152 meters 

high

The bridge

8,981 feet / 2,737 meters

long. 

The roadway is

90 feet / 27 meters

wide. 

The water below is  

242 feet / 74 meters 

deep. 

DEGREE ADVERBS

An adverb can also modify the degree or extent of an adjective. The adverb tells us: How much?  To what degree?

SUBJECT - VERB ADVERB ADJECTIVE

The bridge towers are

very / rather/ pretty 

tall. 

The roadway is

so / moderately 

high. 

The bridge is

rather / quite  

long. 

The roadway is

fairly / adequately   

wide. 

The water below is

quite / extremely   

deep. 

 

With most other adjectives (e.g., shallow, large, big, small, little) specified amounts are not used.
So, very, rather, pretty, quite – emphasize the adjective; fairly, moderately, somewhat – de-emphasize (lessen) the adjective. See Adverbs of degree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modifiers to Adjectives

Measurements—Tall / High

 

 

 

Modifiers to Tall and High 

TALL

Tall is used when we see the item touching the ground and extending upward. The measurement is the distance from the ground to the top of the item.

PEOPLE
man

This man is 170 centimeters tall.

OBJECTS
tall window

This is a tall window.

PHYSICAL FEATURES
Half Dome, Yosemite

This is a tall rock formation.

Used with formations that have a baseline: monoliths such as Half Dome, Meteora,  Ayers Rock or Cathedral Rock)

OTHER USES AND EXPRESSIONS
tall glass of water

I'd like  a tall glass (drinking) of water.

A Sequoia is a tall tree.

He told a tall tale. (unbelievable story)

Mr. Lincoln wore a tall hat.

HIGH

High is used when we see something above us. Usually it is not touching the ground; it is suspended. The measurement is the distance between the ground and the item.

PEOPLE
parachuter

This man is forty-feet high in the air.

OBJECTS
high window

This is a high window.

PHYSICAL FEATURES
mount

This is a high mountain.

Used with mountains without a well-defined baseline.

OTHER USES AND EXPRESSIONS
high fence

We built a high fence / wall.

The water level is high today.

Our tax rates are high.

The stock market is high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modifiers to Adjectives

Measurements—Long / Wide

 

 

 

Modifiers to Long and Wide

LONG

Long is used when we see something in extending horizontally (linear). The measurement is the distance from one end to the other end.

PEOPLE (BABIES)

babyThe baby is twenty-five inches long.

OBJECTS

long windowThere is a long window in my office.
(Long in shape, but also "a high window, a wide window")

RIVERS

riverThe Chicago river is 156 miles long.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

mountain chainThis is a long mountain chain.

( a series of mountains that stretch a long distance on a continent)

FURNITURE

long dining tableThe dining table is 100 centimeters long.

long bed, table (dimension)

WIDE

Wideis used to add a second dimiension to long (linear). It is measured from side to side (perpendicular to the length.)

PEOPLE

—  (It is not polite to describe a person as "wide".) 

OBJECTS

a wide office windowMy office window is five-feet wide

RIVERS

AmazonThe Amazon is between 6 and 30 miles wide.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

grand canyonThe Grand Canyon ranges from four to eighteen miles wide.

FURNITURE

table longThe side table is sixty-five centimeters wide.

wide bed, table (dimension)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dimension Adjectives

Exceptions

 

 

 

Adjectives that do not take number modifiers

MODIFIER SPECIFIES DIMIENSION

The modifiers below are used with number modifiers to measure the dimensions of something.

DEEP

The river is deep.
The river is twelve-feet  deep.

HIGH

The wall is rather high.
The wall is four-meters high.

TALL

Jack is tall.
Jack is 178 centimeters tall.

LONG

The pool is long.
The pool is fifty-meters long.

WIDE

The pool is wide.
The pool is twenty-feet wide.

OLD

Grandfather is old.
Grandfather is sxity-years old.

AROUND

*The tree is around.
The tree is ten-meters around.

AWAY

 

*The beach is away.
The beach is ten-miles away.

MODIFIER ONLY

These modifiers are not used to specify dimensions. They are used without number modifiers.

SHALLOW

The river is shallow.
*The river is twelve-feet shallow.

LOW

The wall is rather low.
*The wall is four-meters low.

SHORT

Jim is short.
*Jim is 155 centimeters short.

NARROW

The bridge is narrow.
*The bridge is six-meters narrow.

YOUNG

Grandfather is young.
~Grandfather is sixty-years young.

FAR

The school is far.
*The school is ten-miles far.

NEAR

N

The beach is near.
*The beach is two-miles near.

 

How deep?  How high? How shallow?  How long?  How wide? How big around?  How far away? How near?

*not used / ~ used with people as a compliment (not used with inanimate things)

 

 

 

 

 

Adjective / Nouns

Colors

 

 

 

Color—adjective vs noun

ASCRIPTIVE BE — ADJECTIVE COMPLEMENTS

A color word is an adjective when it occurs after the verb be and it describes the quality or characteristic of the noun.  See Identifying vs. Describing "Be" .

SUBJ PRED COMPLEMENT
NP BE–ASCR ADJECTIVE

The leaf

 

is

 

green.  (Adj)

new.  (Adj)

SPECIFYING BE — NOUN COMPLEMENTS

A color word is a noun when it occurs after the verb be and it identifies the subject noun.  Which color is it?  It is blue not black.

SUBJ PRED COMPLEMENT
NP BE–SPEC DEFINITE NOUN / NP

The color

is

is

green. (NP)

bright green. (Adj–NP)

 

 

 

Modifiers for Colors

NOUN MODIFIER + COLOR

A color can be modified with an item (noun) that naturally occurs with a variation of the color. A noun is modifying a noun. Together they modify a noun. a moss-green color

moss

 

It's a  moss green color.  (N+N—N)

neon lights

 

It's a neon green light. 

lime

 

It's a lime green fruit.

Emerald green

 

It's an emerald green lake.

hunter green

 

It's a hunter green hat.

ADJECTIVE + COLOR

A color can also be modified with other adjectives that indicate intensity, hue or pattern of the color.

light green

 

It's a light / pale green color.  (Adj+N—N)

dark green

 

It's a dark / deep green paint

yellow green

 

It's a yellow / yellowish green. paper

dirty green

 

It's a dirty / dusty , green wall

green striped

 

It's a dirty / dusty  green wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*The statue is eight-foot high and stands on a two-foot tall pedestal.

 

SOLUTION

The statue is eight-feet high and stands on a two-foot tall pedestal.

Here, "eight-feet modifies the adjective "high". Quantities that modify adjectives may be singular or plural (e.g., eight feet, one foot) depending on the quantity.

It is an eight-foot high statue (modifies the noun "statue")

But here, "eight-foot" modifies a noun. Noun modifiers are almost always singular.

 

*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.

Also see Nouns as Modifiers and Pop-Q – "High

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Scout

A small dog
 

Use number modifiers to describe Scout.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check all" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Tall, High, Long

 

 

 

Complete the sentence with the measurement modifier.

  1. Select the option that best completes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check all" button.
6.
kite

7.
Ship

8.
sportsmen

9.
mattress

10.
mattress

11.
Church tower

12.
Earthquake fault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Colors names from well-known items

 

 

 

Select the color that is goes with the object.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check all" button.

 

13.
cherriesShe has

14.
hot flame

15.
watermelon

16.
baby blue

17.
sky

18.
chocolate candy

19.
eggshell

20.
butterI'm wearing my

21.
butter

 

Use a hyphen to link two colors that modify a noun.  The baby has cherry-red lips. (hyphen);  Her lips are cherry red. (no hyphen)