The Magic Lens. Level One: The Eight Parts of Speech ADJECTIVES. ADJECTIVE (adj.). A word that modifies a noun or pronoun. n. adj. Modify?. To modify is to change. In what way do adjectives modify nouns? Imagine a frozen summit.
Level One: The Eight Parts of Speech
A word that modifies a noun or pronoun.
To modify is to change.
In what way do adjectives modify nouns? Imagine a frozen summit.
Think about the frozen summit of the mountain until you see it in your mind.
Now, imagine a political summit.
Does the second adjective modify (change) the image that you have in your mind?
Some definitions say that an adjective describes a noun, but modify is better because nouns truly are modified or changed by their adjectives.
Notice that an adjective is always part of a binary system, like a double star or a planet with one moon. The presence of an adjective implies the presence of a noun or pronoun.
Every modifier modifies a modified.
If you see the in a sentence, look for the noun. A noun can do without an adjective, but an adjective can not exist without a noun or pronoun. If it isn’t modifying a noun or pronoun, it isn’t an adjective.
So we can say that an adjective modifies its noun, because there is a belonging, a connectedness.
A fire can be hot, hotter, or hottest.
Ice can be cold, colder, coldest.
England makes English.
Rome makes Romans.
The articles are little noun-alerts, that sound like little bleeps right before nouns, letting us know that what comes next is probably a noun.
These little articles break the sentence into nouny segments, like an insect’s jointed leg, each segment beginning with a noun alert!
The good athlete runs well.
We should not say, “I don’t feel well,” which means that one has no talent for feeling things!
We should say, “I don’t feel good,” which uses the adjective good to modify the pronoun I.
In Peter Pan, which he wrote in 1904, James M. Barrie used adjectives such as rakish, tedious, delectable, unwonted, deft, placid, amiable, elegant, tremulous, debonair, genial, cadaverous, profound, amorous, indomitable, plaintive, fastidious, exquisite, succulent, incisive, impassive, vivid, dodgy, sublime, subtle, aloof, phlegmatic and nether to convey the dreamlike, imaginative images of Never Never Land.
Which of these adjectives do you not know?
Which ones would best describe Peter?
The adjective serene has been an important modifier in English and American literature, giving an important twist to hundreds of nouns. Coming from a Greek word meaning dry, serene refers to things that are calm, peaceful, and clear, such as a blue sky.
Milton referred to serene angels in Paradise Lost, in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s monster observed that “A serene sky and verdant fields filled me with ecstasy.” In Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, he describes the moon as “serene and detached in a cloudless sky.”
From Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World:
He had a long chin and big, rather prominent teeth.
pron. v. adj. adj. n. conj. adj. adv. adj. n.
Huxley’s sentence has a cold objectivity that is brought to the sentence by the adjectives. Notice how boring the sentence is if we leave out the modifiers: He had a chin and teeth!
Adjectives can transform a sentence.