An attributive adjective is a type of word that describes or gives more information about a noun. It adds details and qualities to the noun it modifies. In simple terms, it’s like an adjective that sticks closely to a noun and helps us understand it better.
For example, let’s take the sentence: “She has a beautiful dress.” In this sentence, the word “beautiful” is an attributive adjective because it describes the noun “dress.” It tells us more about the dress, specifically it’s quality of being beautiful.
Attributive adjectives can describe various characteristics of a noun, such as its size, color, shape, age, or emotional state. They make our language more descriptive and help paint a clearer picture in our minds.
Here are a few more examples:
“I saw a small dog.” (The adjective “small” describes the noun “dog” by telling us its size.)
“He ate a delicious cake.” (The adjective “delicious” describes the noun “cake” by telling us its taste.)
“They live in a tall building.” (The adjective “tall” describes the noun “building” by telling us its height.)
Position of attributive adjectives
The position of an attributive adjective is usually before the noun it modifies. In most cases, attributive adjectives directly precede the noun in the sentence. Placing the adjective before the noun is the most common and natural order in English.
- The red car
- A beautiful sunset
- An old house
In these examples, “red,” “beautiful,” and “old” are attributive adjectives that come directly before the nouns “car,” “sunset,” and “house,” respectively.
Attributive adjectives describe various characteristics
Let’s explore attributive adjectives and their various characteristics with examples:
The small puppy wagged its tail. (The adjective “small” describes the size of the puppy.)
She bought a large watermelon. (The adjective “large” describes the size of the watermelon.)
I saw a red apple on the table. (The adjective “red” describes the color of the apple.)
She wore a blue dress to the party. (The adjective “blue” describes the color of the dress.)
He bought a round pizza. (The adjective “round” describes the shape of the pizza.)
The triangle-shaped sign warned of danger. (The adjective “triangle-shaped” describes the shape of the sign.)
My grandmother has an antique clock. (The adjective “antique” describes the age of the clock.)
They live in a new house. (The adjective “new” describes the age of the house.)
5. Emotional State:
She received a happy surprise. (The adjective “happy” describes the emotional state of the surprise.)
The sad movie made her cry. (The attributive adjective “sad” describes the emotional state of the movie.)
List of some Attributive Adjectives with Examples
Here’s a list of attributive adjectives with examples that showcase different characteristics:
- Big: He caught a big fish in the river.
- Tiny: The tiny kitten fit in the palm of her hand.
- Enormous: They visited an enormous castle during their vacation.
- Red: She wore a red dress to the party.
- Yellow: The sunflowers bloomed in the yellow field.
- Green: The fresh, green leaves rustled in the wind.
- Square: He put the books on the square table.
- Oval: She placed the oval mirror above the dresser.
- Triangular: The flag had a triangular shape on top of the pole.
- Ancient: The archaeologists discovered an ancient artifact in the ruins.
- Modern: They live in a modern apartment with all the latest technology.
- Young: The young boy played with his toys in the backyard.
5. Emotional State:
- Happy: We celebrated her happy news with a surprise party.
- Excited: The children were excited to go to the amusement park.
- Nervous: He felt nervous before his big presentation.
- Wooden: The cabin had a cozy, wooden interior.
- Metal: She wore a shiny, metal necklace to the event.
- Glass: The fragile glass vase sat on the shelf.
Frequently Asked Questions on Attributive Adjective
Attributive adjectives come before the noun they modify, while predicative adjectives come after linking verbs and modify the subject of a sentence. For example, in “The red apple tastes delicious,” “red” is an attributive adjective, while in “The apple is red,” “red” is a predicative adjective.
Yes, attributive adjectives can be used with both singular and plural nouns. The form of the adjective may change to agree with the number of the noun. For example, “a small dog” (singular) and “small dogs” (plural).
Yes, attributive adjectives can be made up of multiple words, known as compound adjectives. For example, “a three-year-old child” or “state-of-the-art technology.”
While attributive adjectives typically appear directly before the noun, there are cases where they can be separated by other words. For example, “I have a cat, black and white in color.”
Multiple attributive adjectives can be used before a noun, and they generally follow a specific order. The typical order is an opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, purpose, and then a noun. For example, “She bought a beautiful, small, old, round, red, Italian, wooden table.”
Yes, attributive adjectives can be used with proper nouns. They can help provide additional descriptions or clarification. For example, “The famous singer performed on stage.”
Yes, attributive adjectives can be used with pronouns. They provide further description or clarification. For example, “I saw a tall man. He was wearing a blue shirt.”
- Distributive Pronoun
- Reciprocal Pronoun
- Relative Pronoun
- Demonstrative Pronoun
- That vs Which
- Degrees of Comparison of Adjectives
- Pronoun Contractions
Some online resources: