Grammar-QuizzesModifiers to NounsAdjective Summary › Adjective Uses

An Adjective

Recognize how it can function in a clause

Fall leaves
 

 

An Adjective vs. Other Modifiers

AN ADJECTIVE

Adjective is a distinct category of words that function as modifiers to nouns or noun phrases. An adjective describes a noun with qualities such as size, shape, color, worth, age, origin, and so on.                                      

ADJECTIVE – NOUN

Red leaves are falling. 

See Adjective Order. 

NOUN + ADJECTIVE (POST-POSITION)

We saw something redSee Unbreakable Words.

We saw leaves galore / aplenty.

There was water available. 

BE + ADJECTIVE

The leaves are red("predicate adjective")

See Be + Adj Comp. 

PREDICATE + OBJECT NOUN– ADJECTIVE

Fall turns the leaves red.   (resultative adjective)

Verb + Adj Comp. 

 

 

A NOUN / PARTICIPLE / PREP PHRASE / CLAUSE

Other words, phrases and structures can also function as modifiers. Nouns and participles are placed before the noun, whereas phrases and clauses are placed after the noun (noun complements).

NOUN (N)

Autumn leaves are falling. (N)

See Noun Modifiers. 

PARTICIPLE

The falling leaves are covering the ground. (present participle)

The fallen leaves cover the ground.  (past participle)

See Participle Modifiers 1 | Participle Modifiers 2. 

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE (PP)

The leaves on the ground are a variety of colors. 

See Preps for Place. 

MODIFYING CLAUSE (FINITE)

The leaves that are lying on the ground are a variety of colors. 

See That / Which. 

REDUCED CLAUSE (NONFINITE)

The leaves lying on the ground are a variety of colors. 

Falling, the leaves glimmered in the sunlight.

See Clause Reduc 2 | Misrelated Clauses.

 

Noun Complements — prepositional phrases or clauses that add additional information about the noun

Also see Adjective Suffixes | Adjective Order.

The leaf was two inches wideModifiers to Adj

There are a few post-position adjectives: He was a dollar shortThere were stars galore. He is the President elect. He has problems aplenty. There was money available. He is a Poet Laureate and an Attorney General

(Huddleston "Postpositive-only adjectives" 560)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjective Phrases

Modifiers to Adjectives

 

 

Modifiers to Adjectives

ADVERB / ADJECTIVE MODIFIERS

An adverb for degree or another adjective can modify an adjective. The determiner, modifer and adjective are an adjective phrase.

DETERMINER ADV of DEGREE ADJ + NOUN

The

very / rather/ pretty / so / moderately / rather / quite  

tall bridge

high bridge

long bridge

DETERMINER MODIFIER ADJ + NOUN

Some

bright

dull

pale

green leaves.

brown leaves.

yellow leaves.

NOUN MODiFIERS

A number-noun or a noun can function as a modifier to an adjective.                                                                                                                       

DETERMINER NUMBER-NOUN ADJ + NOUN

The

227-meter

200-foot

one-kilometer

tall bridge

high bridge

long bridge

DETERMINER NOUN ADJE + NOUN

A(n)

emerald

walnut

lemon

green leaf.

brown leaf.

yellow leaf.

 

See Modifiers to Adjectives (Adjective Phrases) for detailed examples and practices.

See Clause – Phrases for the parts that make up a clause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjective

Properties

 

 

Tests for the Adjective Category

Adjective is a distinct class of descriptive words indicating qualities such as size, shape, color, worth, age, and so on.

1) CAN MODIFY A NOUN 2) CAN COMPLEMENT A STATIC VERB 3) CAN TAKE A DEGREE MODIFIER

An adjective modifies a noun (placed mostly before but also after the noun.)

An adjective can follow a static verb such as be, act, become, seem, look, etc.

An adjective is gradable and can be modified by a degree adverb (not absolute words¹.)

He is an early bird.   (Yes)

He seems early.  (Yes)

He seems very early.  (Yes)

It is a falling leaf.   (Yes)

*It looks falling.  (No)

*It is very falling.² (No)

It is a red leaf.   (Yes)

It looks red.  (Yes)

It is very red.  (Yes)

It is a frozen leaf.   (Yes)

It appears frozen.  (Yes)

It is completely frozen.  (Yes)

He found something frozen³.   (Yes)

Something appears frozen.  (Yes)

Something is totally frozen. (Yes)

*not used (incorrect). 

property (N) — an essential or distinctive attribute or quality of a thing. (Word categories are usually defined with two or more properties.)

¹ Logically, degree modifiers are not used with words that have absolute meanings; for example, *He's rather dead, *somewhat opposite, or *very unique. See Absolute and Non-gradable Words.

² falling is not adjectival (like an Adjective).  See Participle Modifiers 2

² something frozen – see Unbreakable Words.

(Huddleston 533, 541)

 

 

 

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

ESL DESCRIPTION

Adjectives 'modify' nouns. An adjective changes the meaning of a noun by giving more information about it.  Adjectives are neither singular or plural. (Azar 4-4)

 

An adjective placed before the noun is in the "attributive" position. Adjectives placed after the noun are in the "predicative" position. Swan details several special cases. (Swan 12–19)

 

REED-KELLOGG DIAGRAM 

Red leaves are falling.

The leaves are red.
LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Adjectives  (Biber 2.3.3 )

  • Many are inflected for comparison — big, bigger, biggest
  • Can occur at the head of an adjective phrase— very big, eager to please
  • Occur mostly as pre-modifiers in noun phrases (a red wagon) or as predicatives in clauses (is red)
  • Describe qualities of people, things, and states of affairs
  • Are gradable (accept a degree modifier) very big
  • Some have intensifying or identifying meanings: the identical chair, utter nonsense

"Adjectives may be defined as a syntactically distinct class of words whose most characteristic function is to modify nouns. They typically denote properties—most centrally in the domains of size, shape, colour, worth, and age." (Huddleston 6 §2-4)

TREE DIAGRAM

Red leaves are falling

leaves are red
 

Word Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Word Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

 

Works Cited

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al. Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English. Pearson Education, 1999.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • O'Brien, Elizabeth. "Diagramming Sentences Exercises: Chapter 1." English Grammar Revolution. 2016. english-grammar-revolution.com/english-grammar-exercise.html. Accessed on 10 Oct. 2016.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.
  • "Sentence diagram." Wikipedia. 28 Sep. 2016. Accessed on 10 Oct. 2016.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Why do leaves fall?

photosynthesis
 

Read the Context

Why do leaves fall in autumn? Does the wind blow them off or is it the cold weather that kills them? In spring, a tree takes water from the ground and uses stored energy to grow new leaves. The leaves are "food factories" that capture sunlight and carbon dioxide. Chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps change carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into oxygen and glucose (sugar).

This process is called photosynthesis, a Greek word meaning "putting together with light". The tree uses and stores this food for later use.

Throughout the summer, the tree leaves remain green. As winter comes, trees prepare for cold and freezing weather. Trees conserve energy by shedding leaves that would likely be damaged in the winter.

GLOSSARY

autumn (N) — another word for fall, the season after summer and before winter

capture (V) — collect

carbon dioxide — a compound CO 2; carbonic acid-gas

conserve (V) — save, keep

factory (N)  — a large building where a product is made

"food factories" — quotes indicate that this is an unusual sense of the words

glucose (N) — a form of sugar

likely (Adv) — probably, more certainly

shed (V) — let fall; A snake sheds its skin.

store (V) — to keep and save for later

waste (N) — decayed material, used up material

 

 

 

 

Which word, phrase or clause is the modifier?

  1. Select one or more items as your response. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.
Why do leaves fall in autumn?




)

2.
Does the wind blow them off or is it the cold weather?







3.
In spring, a tree takes water from the ground and uses stored energy to grow new leaves.







4.
The leaves are "food factories" that capture sunlight and carbon dioxide.







5.
Chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps change carbon dioxide, water and sunlight into oxygen and sugar (glucose).







6.
This process is called photosynthesis, a Greek word meaning "putting together with light".







7.
The tree uses and stores this food for later use.







8.
Throughout the summer, the tree leaves remain green.







9.
As winter comes, trees prepare for cold and freezing weather.







10.
Trees conserve energy by shedding leaves that would likely be damaged in the winter.







 

One could argue that carbon-dioxide is a compound word or that it is a noun carbon modifying a particular type of dioxide (different from sulfur dioxide, titanium dioxide, uranium dioxide, etc.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Nature's Scissors

abscission
 

 

Read the Context

In fall, special cells thicken at the base of the stems of the leaves. The cells are called abscission cells because they function like scissors. These cells block the tubes through which water flows. The cells eventually separate the leaves from the tree.

This process of shedding leaves protects the tree from the loss of energy and freeze damage. With less water, the bright green chlorophyll fades. More of the leaf color shows when the green chlorophyll is not present.

Waste that is in the leaf makes it appear brown. Anthocyanin, a pigment also found in grapes, apples and beets, makes the leaf redder.

It's not clear how the red color in the leaves helps the tree; however, the color does make the tree more desirable for planting.

GLOSSARY

abscission (N) — the act of cutting off; the normal separation of flowers, fruit and leaves from plants

cell (N) — in biology, the basic structural unit of all plants and animals  (Also, a small unit, room, or compartment)

chlorophyll (N) — s green substance in plants  that helps make food for the plant

damage (N) — injury, harm, cause something to be hurt

freeze (N) — state of being frozen; below 0 degrees;  freeze damage, a deep freeze (meteorology)

eventually (Adv) — at a later time it certainly will happen

pigments (N) — any substance whose presence in the tissues or cells of animals or plants colors them

scissors (N) — a household tool used for cutting paper or cloth

shed (V) — let fall; A snake sheds its skin.

 

 

 

 

Identify the word form of the modifier highlighted in the sentence.

  1. Select your response from the list.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking each "check" or the "check 11-20" button.

 

11.


12.


13.


14.


15.


16.


17.


18.


19.


20.


 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Blueberry Buds

buds
 

Read for Errors

Spring is the time when blueberry plants begin to take up water and nutrients from the ground and sunlight from the sky so that they can feed themselves and can grow again.

The first sign of awakening is the appearance of tiny little brown buds on the branches of the plant. A bud is an outgrowth from the plant which can develop into a flower or a leaf. Buds may be specialized to develop flowers or to develop shoots. The first buds appear on the part of the branch that is near the center of the plant rather than far away at the tip of the branches. That is to say, the buds develop from the inner part of the branch and then out to the tip

As the weather warms up, the buds begin to swell. The flowers that are emerging push open the scales, which eventually fall away from the flower.

The flowers attract bees that collect the flowers' yellow, sticky, sweet pollen and carry it to other flowers. Other flowers receive the insects and their pollen, which is a necessity part of the pollination process. Pollinating flowers can then develop into fruit—blueberries.

After the flowers petals emerge, the leaves begin to emerge, grow, flatten, and turn toward the sky. The leaves take in sunny light, water and nutrients to feed the rest of the plant. Within a few months, the bright, blue, delicious blueberries will ripe and edible.

awakening (N) — the process of waking from sleep or a dormant state (inactive)

edible (Adj) — fit or suitable for human consumption; not poisonous

emerge (V) — come out of an enclosure or smaller space

gamete (N) — genetic information

nutrients (N) — vitamins and minerals from the soil, the ground

outgrowth (N) — something that develops from something else, as a natural result of it

pollinate (N) — the transfer of pollen grains to the female reproductive structure

ripe (Adj) — mature; finished growing

scale (N) — covering of the flower in the bud form

sign (N) — information, a warning, an instructive symbol

shoots (N) — new green growth (not flower)

swell (V) — enlarge

 

 

blueberries

 

Edit for Errors  (adjectives and other modifiers)

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box. (Look word form, punctuation and modifier position errors.)
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking each "check" or the "check 21-30" button.

 

21.
The first sign of awakening is the appearance of tiny little brown buds on the branches of the plant.


22.
A bud is an outgrowth from the plant which can develop into a flower or a leaf.


23.
The first buds appear on the part of the branch that is near the center of the plant rather than far away at the tip of the branches.


24.
The flowers that are emerging push open the scales, which eventually fall away from the flower.


25.
The flowers attract bees that collect the flowers' yellow, sticky, sweet pollen and carry it to other flowers.


26.
Other flowers receive the insects and their pollen, which is a necessity part of the pollination process.


27.
Pollinating flowers can then develop into fruit—blueberries.


28.
After the flowers petals emerge, the leaves begin to emerge, grow, flatten, and turn toward the sky.


29.
The leaves take in sunny light, water and nutrients to feed the rest of the plant.


30.
Within a few months, the bright, blue, delicious blueberries will ripe and edible.