Adjectives add information to or describe a noun.

  • Comparative forms end in –er or are preceded by “more”.
  • Superlatives end in –est or are preceded by “the most”.

Note: ‘more’ or ‘the most’ are not the comparative/superlative on their own – you have to quote the base adjective too, just like you wouldn’t only quote the ‘er’ or ‘est’ bit of a shorter adjective (i.e. ‘more clever’, ‘better’ or ‘the most awful’, ‘the tallest’ will get you the marks; just ‘more’ or ‘most’ won’t).

  • Compound adjectives are formed by 2 or more adjectives together: bright blue.
  • Other word classes can be used as adjectives, e.g. nouns (boyfriend jeans); perfective verbs (frightened tourists); progressive verbs (infuriating sister).

There are also ways of describing different kinds of adjective semantically, i.e. according to their meaning:

  • Descriptive adjectives simply provide information: the thin boy
  • Evaluative adjectives describe things in a way that also provides a judgement about them (this can be negative or positive): the gangly boy
  • Emotive adjectives are intended to provoke an emotional reaction from the audience: the anorexic-looking boy

Note that it is often possible to describe the same adjective as ‘evaluative’ and ‘emotive’.  That’s the problem with semantic categories – we may all react slightly differently to the same words.  Don’t spend too long wondering whether a word is ‘evaluative’ or ‘emotive’ – just pick one! (and justify it in your analytical comment).

Frameworks ebook

All the frameworks material on this site will remain freely available here, but if you’d like to download most of it in one neat package*, to be read on a Kindle or in the Kindle app (which is free and works on PC, tablet or phone), it is available as an ebook for £2.50 on Amazon (or free on Kindle Unlimited) – see below. 

*all the pages are there, but a few of them have been updated a bit since I put the book together.