What is an adjective?

  • An adjective describes a (quality of a) noun.

So, if the noun is ‘girl’ we can use the adjective ‘smart’ to describe the girl. We can say:

  • The girl is smart.
  • The smart girl is my friend.

There is a clear difference between these two sentences: where the adjective is placed. 

Adjectives can either appear in front of the noun it is describing, or after a copula verb (such as ‘to be’).

Is there a change in meaning depending on where the adjective is placed?

Let’s consider some examples:

  • 1. The working woman is busy.
  • 2. The woman is working.

The adjective ‘working’ in 1. has a permanent connotation, while in 2. it has a more temporary connotation, suggesting a current action. Sentence 1. uses ‘working’ to describe an aspect of the woman’s identity. Sentence 2. uses ‘working’ to mean that the woman is working right now.

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