ICAO Level 4 Structure: Adjectives – Basic Structures
What Are Adjectives?
Adjectives are one of the biggest parts of the speech together with verbs, nouns, and adverbs. The easiest adjectives most English students are familiar with even at the beginning of their language acquisition are: big, small, fast, slow, loud, quiet, nice, rich, poor, tall, etc. Adjectives always describe a noun and, therefore, they provide with some extra information.
Here’s a simple sentence without an adjective:
John is a boy.
Here’s some extra information added with an adjective:
John is a clever boy.
(Adjective “clever” describes a noun “boy” and, as a result we know more about John in the second sentence.)
How To Identify Adjectives? Adjectives Forming Suffixes
The only best way to check whether a given part of the speech is an adjective or not is to check its role in a sentence. On the other hand, there is a list of adjectives that can be easily recognized depending on a suffix (ending) of a certain word. Take a closer look at a list (copyrights to Cambridge Online Dictionary):
Adjectives can be made from nouns and verbs if you add a correct suffix.
A noun can be transformed into an adjective:
wind (noun) -> windy (adjective)
beauty (noun) -> beautiful (adjective)
A verb can be also transformed into an adjective:
drink (verb) -> drinkable (adjective)
eat (verb) -> edible (adjective)
What Are Comparative and Superlative?
If we want to compare two or more things we may use comparative or superlative adjectives. In general, one-syllable adjectives take –er suffix comparative and –est suffix for superlatives.
Tall (base form, one-syllable adjective) -> taller (comparative) -> the tallest (superlative)
With one-syllable adjectives ending in vowel + consonant, you need to double the final consonant before –er/–est.
Big (base form, one-syllable adjective ending with vowel + consonant) -> bigger -> the biggest (‘g’ is doubbled in comparative and superlative)
With adjectives ending in y, you replace the ‘y’ with ‘i’ and add –er/ –est.
Lucky (base form, ending with ‘y’) -> luckier (comparative) -> the luckiest (superlative)
Also, two-syllable adjectives which end in an unstressed syllable also have –er/ –est suffixes:
funny -> funnier -> the funniest
If an adjective doesn’t have an unstressed syllable or is longer than two syllables, it is built with a certain pattern: comparatives + more, superlatives + the most.
interesting -> more interesting (comparative) -> the most interesting (superlative)
What Are Absolute Adjectives?
Absolute adjectives don’t take either comparative or superlative form. Look at the example below:
“He’s dead.” -> in comparative and superlative we will also say “dead”; there are no such forms as “more/ most dead” or “deader/ deadest.”
What are the Irregular Comparatives and Superlatives?
Here’s the list of the most popular irregular comparatives and superlatives.
This blog post purposefully contains the most basic information about adjectives in the English language. My other articles will include more the description of some complex structures. Is there anything that I should explain to you in detail? Let me know via email and I’ll take every suggestion into consideration 🙂