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Parts of speech

Learn more about English parts of speech, such as prepositions and articles, to help you become a more confident writer.

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An adjective always modifies a noun.

For example:

  • I like wearing my red hat.
  • Will you be able to attend the dinner, even though it's late? (late refers to the noun "dinner")
  • I tried to be helpful. (helpful refers to the subject of the sentence: "I")

Adjectives also function to indicate quantity:

  • Most people liked the film.
  • few people answered the survey.
  • Many scholars agree that I'm right.

Tip: In general, it's best to avoid vague adjectives of number (e.g. many, most, some) in academic writing. Rather, be exact regarding the number of the noun in question, and where appropriate, provide research as evidence. Doing so will make your writing more precise and demonstrates that you've done the appropriate research to support your statement. For example:

  • Eight out of ten people responded to the survey.
  • I found agreement between three scholars who are experts in the field of giraffe behaviour (Tall, 2005; Silent, 2002; Spots, 2000).

For more information regarding adjectives and how they differ from adverbs, please refer to The OWL at Purdue: Adjective or Adverb?