All Hail Adjectives!

Cthulhu

Can you believe we’re halfway through the summer vacation already? (For those of us in North America, anyway.) I don’t know about the rest of you, but my “to do” list for August just grew exponentially…

Anyway, today we are going to talk about adjectives, which are hands down the best part of speech to pull when you’re playing Mad Libs. Am I right?

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns by telling us something more about the word it is modifying (the slimy tentacle). Generally, an adjective precedes the noun it modifies. With pronouns, the adjective usually comes after (it was slimy).

I discussed the three degrees of adjectives a while ago, so I won’t repeat the information here. But let’s look at the special types of adjectives that you might encounter.

Participial adjectives
This type of adjective takes an ending just like a verb, so it can have a present (-ing) or a past (-ed) form. Many participial adjectives borrow the verb form directly, but in some cases there is no corresponding verb.

  • Thog, the Demon-God of Xuthal is terrifying.
  • I was disgusted by Thog’s pungent smell.

Coordinate adjectives
This type of adjective simply refers to cases where more than one adjective is used to modify the same word. Coordinate adjectives should be separated by the word and or by commas.

  • Cthulu’s massive, black, pulsating tentacles reached for me.
  • His flesh was cold and clammy.

However, when one adjective is modifying the idea expressed by the combination of the other adjective and the noun, the adjectives are not coordinate and should not be separated by a comma or an and. In the following example, grey modifies stone house, not just house.

  • The walls of my grey stone house crumbled under the monster’s weight.

Phrasal adjectives
Also known as a compound modifier. This is when a phrase is used to modify a noun. And generally, when the phrase appears before the noun, it should be hyphenated.

  • An oozing-eyed monster emerged from the depths.

Compound modifiers can become complex really quickly, so consider rewriting your sentence if you have more than two words.

  • The nebulous-blob-shaped beast gurgled ominously.
  • The beast shaped like a nebulous blob gurgled ominously.

So there you have it — adjectives in all their awesomeness. Now go find a book of Mad Libs and have some fun!

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Image credit: Google images

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