Adjective & Modifier Summary




Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced 



Red leaves are falling.  (attributive)

We saw something red. (post-position!)

The leaves are red.   (predicative)

Fall turns the leaves red(predicative)






 evening sky

It was a spectacle.
It was spectacular.
It was a spectacular sky.

It was an awesome sight.
It was an awful sight.

It was an historic night.
It was a historical event.


 Big purple paisley cat

 I drew a pretty, little, purple-and-pink paisley pussycat.

Adjectives as Predicative Complements

a sleepwalker

He is tired.

He seems tired.

He appears tired.

 (No action involved.)


Jason is anxious about his future.

He would like to be independent of his parents.

He is good at many things.

He is optimistic about his future.


 car being fixed

Larry washed the car clean

Larry wiped the car dry

Larry pushed the door open.


She wants her car cleaned(service) 

She wants her car clean(state) She found her car clean(unexpected state)

Noun as Modifiers to Nouns

 office chair

Its a chair for an office.
It's an office chair (singular)
It is a sports car (a rare plural modifier)


The ladder had five steps.
  It was a five-step ladder.

There are a million uses for WD-40(spelled out)

Participle Modifiers to Nouns

 clown juggling

The act was entertaining

We were entertained.


It was an entertaining act.

The highly entertained audience sat silently.

  roasting checken
roasted chicken 

a roasting chicken - still cooking! 
a  roasted chicken - done!

A recently spotted owl was making a nest. (seen)
A spotted owl nests in spring. (natural appearance)

A sleeping dog should not be awakened. (ongoing)
A sleeping bag is required for camping. (function)


The children were interested in hearing his story.
The press was excited about the President's speech.

The President is pleased with the response.
The President is pleased with how the people responded.

He is interested in and excited about his new project.

part of speech?

The endings of those movies were disappointing. (Subj: NP)

The movies were ending without finishing the story. (Pred: VP)

Ending the movie production was difficult. (Subj: nonfinite)

The director began ending the movie production. (Comp: nonfinite)

The production ending in June will be shown in theaters in August. (Modifer: nonfinite)

 Paparazzi camera flash

Celebrities are concerned ____ the activities of the Paparazzi.


 my old house

I was surprised to see how much the neighborhood had changed. (past participial adjective)
It was surprising to see how much the neighborhood had changed.  (present participial adjective)

We saw broken windows. (past participial adjective)
We heard breaking news. (present participial adjective)

Clauses as Modifiers to Nouns (Adjective Clauses)  See Modifying Clauses


Modifiers to Adjectives


The basketball player is nine feet tall. (plural)

He can place a ball in a basket ball hoop ten feet high.

He sleeps in a bed that is nine and a half feet long.

He is extremely tall.

A big talker

He talks excessively. (verb) 
He talks extremely fast. (Adv) 
He is rather talkative. (Adj)



 couple looks at wreakage

The more we saw, the less we could believe.

The bigger, the better.

Comparative Modifiers to Nouns

setting comparisons 

 The apple is similar to the orange.

The color of the apple is unlike the color of the orange. This While the orange is high in fiber, the apple is not.

On the one hand, oranges are high in vitamin C; on the other hand, they are very acetic to the stomach.


The apple is the same weight as the orange. 

The apple is as heavy as the orange. 

The apple is as light as the orange. 


This apple is better than that one.  (good - better)

This better apple is that one. 

This apple is more beautiful than that one. 

This less tasty apple is that one. 

He drives faster than she does.  / she.

*He drives faster than her.

Further down the street

The shop is farther down the street.  physical distance
The shop is further down the street.  physical distance

What you say couldn't be further from the truth!  (a lie)   fig. 

Do you need any further assistance?  ("more") 
We'll help them further their cause (advance) verb 

 apple comparison

The Granny Smith apple is the tastiest apple for baking.

The Red Delicious apple is the most flavorful apple.

The Jonathan apple is the least flavorful apple.

The cheetah runs the fastest of all mammals.

The sloth moves the least fast of all mammals.

walk to work

We would rather walk to work than drive. (coordinator: X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than drive. (X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than get caught in traffic.  (subordinator: choosing X to avoid Y)

the blind

The blind need accessible walkways.
The English  were proud of their team.

Do you want a large or small coffee.  I'll have the large.

The latter will be much better.  In fact,  it's the best.