TOEFL IBT – Adjectives
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun. They can be divided into two categories: determiners and descriptive adjectives.
Determiners precede descriptive adjectives in a sentence. Within determiners, there are articles, demonstratives, and number words.
Articles define a noun as specific or unspecific. Definite articles are used when talking about a specific noun, whereas indefinite articles are used when talking about an unspecified noun. There are three articles in English: a, an, and the.
- The boat is new. (the is a definite article describing boat – we know which boat)
- I bought a new boat. (a is an indefinite article describing boat – the boat is being introduced for the first time)
- I bought an apple. (an is an indefinite article describing apple
BE CAREFUL: An is used when a word begins with a vowel SOUND, not LETTER!
- hour -> an hour (the h is silent)
Demonstratives show where an object or person is in relation to the speaker. English has six demonstratives: here, there, this, that, these, and those.
- Here is the painting. (the speaker is showing us the painting that is close to us)
- There is the painting. (the speaker is showing us the painting that is far from us)
- This painting is extraordinary. (the painting is close to the speaker)
- That painting is extraordinary. (the painting is far from the speaker)
- These paintings are extraordinary. (the speaker is showing us several paintings that are close to us)
- Those paintings are extraordinary. (the speaker is showing us several paintings that are far from us)
Number words are numbers that are used as adjectives.
- Could I have six bagels, please?
- I only bought three boxes of strawberries.
- Do you think twenty-five balloons will be enough for the party?
Descriptive adjectives are all the other words that describe a property of an object.
- He sounded scared. (scared describes the subject, “he”)
- They heard an awful noise. (awful describes the noun “noise”)
- The giraffes she saw were very tall. (tall describes the noun “giraffes”)
Descriptive adjectives can be turned into comparative adjectives, which make a comparison between two things.
- This is a large pot -> This pot is larger than that one. -> This is the largest pot.
- That is a pretty girl. -> She is a prettier girl. -> That is the prettiest girl.
If the descriptive adjective has more than two syllables OR it is a two-syllable word not ending in –y (charming), use more or most.
- That’s a beautiful dog. -> That dog is more beautiful than the other one. -> That is the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen.
- That is a mischievous child. -> That is a more mischievous child than the other one. -> That is the most mischievous child I’ve ever seen.
- Such a cunning person. -> This person is more cunning than that one. -> That is the most cunning person I’ve ever met.