Adjectives




Adjectives are words that describe (or modify) nouns and pronouns. Most adjectives answer the questions Which one? What kind? How many?

Kindergarten lessons frequently incorporate adjectives (“describing words”), such as naming colors and using adjective opposites (tall/short, big/little, happy/sad). Grade 1 students begin to identify shades of meaning in adjectives. By Grade 2 or Grade 3, students understand that adjectives describe people, places, and things (nouns), and that an adjective may tell how many, what color, or what size or shape. Third grade students also learn how to form and use comparative and superlative adjectives.

Adjectives are generally used before nouns until Grade 4. In Grades 4 and 5, students become more familiar with identifying and using adjectives that follow a noun or pronoun and a linking verb; these are called predicate adjectives (e.g. Children grow older every day).

Word study of adjectives should give students opportunities to distinguish among comparative (comparing two things, -er, -ier, more) and superlative (comparing three or more things, -est, -iest, most) adjectives, as well as increasing familiarity with demonstrative adjectives (these shoes, that dog) and proper adjectives (Shakespearean tragedy, German chocolate).

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View the Common Core State Standards Related to AdjectivesClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Adjectives

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.5.B
Demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites (antonyms).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1.F
Use frequently occurring adjectives.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1.H
Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5.D
Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, glare, scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them or by acting out the meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.6
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g. because).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.6
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1.g
Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

Other CCSS connections

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5.A
Sort words into categories (e.g., colors, clothing) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5.B
Define words by category and by one or more key attributes (e.g., a duck is a bird that swims; a tiger is a large cat with stripes).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5.C
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note place at home that are cozy).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1.E
Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.5.A
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe foods that are spicy or juicy).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.5.B
Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs (e.g., toss, throw, hurl) and closely related adjectives (e.g., thin, slender, skinny, scrawny).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5.b
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe people who are friendly or helpful).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1.d
Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5.C
Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.

View Words at a GlanceClose

K-2 Adjectives: late, flat, nice, long, shy, loud, green, empty, salty, dry

3-5 Adjectives: many, young, quiet, clever, cold, purple, gentle, huge, square, sweet

6-8 Adjectives: sparse, modern, immense, wooden, faithful, beautiful, important, deafening, hollow, crooked

9-12 Adjectives: nonchalant, substantial, nutritious, mysterious, outrageous, glamorous, ancient, abstract, incompetent, thundering, miniature, inexpensive, abundant, victorious, permissible

Irregular Adjectives: good, better, best, bad, worse, worst, far, farther, farthest, little, less, least

Comparative & Superlative Adjectives: fast, faster, fastest, hot, hotter, hottest, large, larger, largest, heavy, heavier, heaviest, easy, easier, easiest

VocabularySpellingCity.com provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to understand and use adjectives.

Try Word-O-Rama with the Comparative and Superlative Adjectives list.