How to Identify an Adjective in a Sentence

What is an Adjective

An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun. In simple terms, it is a describing word. They describe qualities such as size, color, type, and number.

An adjective can be used after or before a noun. The adjectives that follow the noun are known as predicate adjectives. The adjectives that precede the noun are known as attributive adjectives.

Here, step by step we will explain how to identify an adjective in a sentence.

How to Identify an Adjective in a Sentence

Step 1: Identify the Nouns

Since an adjective’s main task is to modify a noun, adjectives are always placed before or after a noun. So it is important to identify the noun first.  Just look for words that name people, places, or things.

Jane bought a new dress.

Her bag is red.

Rita slept in my old room.

Twelve students passed the final exam.

Step 2: Look at Nearby Words

Now that you have identified the nouns check if there are any words nearby that describe or modify the nouns.

Note: Attributive adjectives are placed directly in front of the noun. But, predicative adjectives are not placed directly after the noun. When the adjective follows the noun, there is always a state verb between them.

Jane bought a new dress.

Her bag is red.

Rita slept in my old room.

Twelve students passed the final exam.

Step 3: Use Questions to Recheck

Adjectives answer the following questions about the noun:

  • Which?
  • What kind of?
  • How many?

See if the words you have identified as adjectives answer any one of these questions. If they can answer these questions, they are without a doubt adjectives.

Jane bought a new dress.

 What kind of dress? a new dress

Her bag is red.

What kind of bag? a red bag

Rita slept in my old room.

Which room? my old room

Twelve students passed the final exam.

Which exam? final exam

How many students? twelve students

How to Identify an Adjective in a Sentence

Comparative vs Superlative Forms

Adjectives can also occur in the form of comparatives and superlatives. Comparative and superlative adjectives are easier to identify because of their unique structure.

Comparative adjectives take the ending er or use the word more before the adjective.

Jean is prettier than her sister.

She is more beautiful than her mother.

Superlative adjectives take the ending est or use the word most before the adjective.

Jane is the prettiest girl in the room.

She is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

Examples of Adjectives

You can use the above-explained methods to identify the adjectives in the following sentences.

  1. The pretty girl is riding her bicycle.
  2. Fifteen students were absent from class.
  3. The short girl laughed at the new teacher.
  4. The old professor has two daughters.
  5. What is the shortest route to the maternity hospital?
  6. Gladys is a rich woman.


  1. pretty
  2. fifteen
  3. short, new
  4. old, two
  5. shortest, maternity
  6. rich

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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