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BEST WAYS OF DESCRIBING DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVES

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A descriptive adjective is a kind of adjective which gives the picture of what a noun is all about. It shows the pictorial characteristics of nouns. Below are some of the sub-divisions of descriptive adjectives.

(a)   Size or length: This adjective describes the measurement in terms of bigness, longness, smallness, tallness, largeness, neatness and distance, etc. For example:

(i)         Bola is a short girl.

(ii)        This is a narrow gate.

(iii)       There are some large football pitches in Nigeria.

(iv)       Look at that tall tree.

The words underlined in the sentences above are adjectives (attributive) and they qualify nouns they precede. Consider the following:

(i)         The adjective short qualifies the noun girl.

(ii)        The adjective narrow qualifies the noun gate.

(iii)       The adjective large qualifies the noun football pitches.

(iv)       The adjective tall qualifies the noun tree.

Note that the adjectives used must agree with nouns they describe, or else the sentences in which they appear will be meaningless. The interesting question is this:

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Can you say:   (i)         Bola is a large girl?

(ii)        There is a tall football?

(iii)       Look at that long boy?

The answer is No; we can’t. It is because there is no agreement between the adjectives and the nouns they describe.

(b)        Shape: The adjective of shape throws light on the shape of the nouns they qualify. For Example:

(i)         Mr Ojo has a robust body.

(ii)        I always admire a slim girl.

(iii)       Your round face seems charming.

(iv)       I need one rectangular table.

The words underlined in the sentences above are adjectives (attributive) because they qualify the nouns they precede. Consider the following:

(i)         The adjective robust qualifies the noun body.

(ii)        The adjective slim qualifies the noun girl.

(iii)       The adjective round qualifies the noun face.

(iv)       The adjective rectangular qualifies the noun table.

(c)        Quality: It is a type of adjective which describes the general impression of a noun. It gives more information about the noun it qualifies. For example:

(i)         You are not a brilliant student.

(ii)        Only an honest boy can work with me.

(iii)       I disliked a promiscuous women.

(iv)       He said he couldn’t marry an ugly woman.

The words underlined in the sentences above are adjectives (attributive) qualifying the nouns. In the examples above, the word brilliant is an adjective describing the noun student.

The word honest is also an adjective describing the noun boy, the word promiscuous is an adjective describing the noun women, and the word ugly is also an adjective describing the noun woman.

(d)       Age: Adjectives of age describe the time of nouns. For example:

(i)         Please, can you remove worn-out tyres from the car?

(ii)        These are out-fashioned trousers.

(iii)       I don’t want that out-dated syllabus.

(iv)       I live in a new house while my brother lives in an old one.

The words underlined in the sentences above are adjectives describing the nouns they precede. Consider the following:

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(i)         The adjective worn-out qualifies the noun tyres.

(ii)        The adjective out-fashioned qualifies the noun trousers.

(iii)       The adjective out-dated qualifies the noun syllabus.

(iv)       The adjective new qualifies the noun house.

(e)        Colour: This is a type of adjective giving the light pattern of nouns. It describes the colour of a particular noun. For example:

(i)         Gbade has some white shirts.

(ii)        Ife bought a brown skirt.

(iii)       Yemisi is washing blue slippers.

(iv)       I am shinning my black shoes.

The underlined words in the sentences above express the colour or light pattern of the nouns they qualify. Look at the following:

The adjective white qualifies the noun shirts.

The adjective brown qualifies the noun skirt.

The adjective blue qualifies the noun slippers.

The adjective black qualifies the noun shoes.

(f)        Origin: The adjective of origin is also called a proper adjective. It describes the source and the background of the noun it precedes. For example:

(i)         I want to buy a Japanese car.

(ii)        The two Portuguese footballers died yesterday.

(iii)       He bought two Italian shoes.

(iv)       The Nigerian security is tight.

The examples underlined in the sentences above express the source of the nouns they qualify. In sentence (i) Japanese is an adjective qualifying the noun car. It describes clearly the kind of the car which the speaker wants to buy.

In sentence (ii), Portugese is an adjective qualifying the noun footballers. It describes vividly the country which the footballers who died has come from (Portugal).

In sentence (iii), Italian is an adjective qualifying the noun shoes. It describes the source of the shoes the man bought (Italy).

In sentence (iv), Nigerian is also an adjective qualifying the noun security. It clearly describes the specific security (The security of Nigeria). Consider the following:

(i)         Japanese is the background/source of the car.

(ii)        Portugese is the background/source of the footballers.

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(iii)       Italian is the background/source of the shoes.

(iv)       Nigerian is the background/source of the security.

(g)        Quantity: These are determiners describing the quantity of nouns. Some of them include: few, some, many and most. For example:

(i)         Only few students come to school today.

(ii)        My father gave me some advice.

(iii)       I don’t want many people here.

(iv)       I told you several times to leave the place.

The underlined words in the sentences above are adjectives of quantity because they express the numbers of the nouns they precede.

Few qualifies the noun students.

Many qualifies the noun people.

Some qualifies the noun advice.

Several qualifies the noun times.

 

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