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Positive and Negative Adjective Description & Lists

When’s the last time you told someone how you really felt in the moment? Chances are that whenever you share your feelings with someone, you use describing words. Words that describe nouns play an important role in the English language and communicate how you think. Without noun describers, it’s difficult to express how you feel about the people places, and things around you. What’s great about describing words is that you can use them to describe your subjective feelings.

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Every describing word has a meaning. Some evoke “good” feelings, while others promote “bad” feelings. By using positive adjectives and negative adjectives, you express your thoughts and help someone understand how you feel. These words can also potentially impact those you’re speaking about and those you’re speaking to. That’s why it’s necessary to choose your words carefully.

Let’s look at an example. The sentence, he’s very competitive probably forms a good mental image in your mind. Being competitive means that someone is focused, engaged, and self-determined. You can understand that the person has a desire to be successful, without endangering anyone.

Next, consider the sentence he’s very combative. Combative shares a similar meaning to the word competitive, yet the “bad” traits outweigh the good. The mental image you get from this sentence is perhaps someone who wants to fight and argue. The person is not only competitive, but hostile and aggressive as well.

As you can tell, describing words matter. That’s why it’s important to know different words that describe both good and bad things in your life. To build your vocabulary, let’s learn more about positive adjectives and negative adjectives. But before we do that, why not learn about APA format and more styles of citing work?

What are Positive Adjectives

Positive adjectives describe people, places, and things positively. Using these noun modifiers, you can express emotions such as satisfaction, love, amusement, hope, and more. Here are a few examples of sentences that use good emotional words.

  • Steve is happy today.
  • Her wise words fired up the crowd.
  • Suzy’s always cooperative with her classmates.

In addition to letting you describe someone or something, you can also use noun modifiers to motivate others. When you speak about someone with good describing words, you grow their confidence and build people up.

  • You’re a spectacular team captain.
  • Look at your perfect math test grade.
  • That outfit looks terrific on you.

How do these sentences make you feel? Most people enjoy hearing words of encouragement. Yet without noun describing words you can only make statements.

  • You’re a team captain!
  • Look at your math test grade.

As you can tell in the examples above, you can’t share your subjective feelings with others about nouns without using describing words. But it’s important not to select any word, but rather the right word. Because just one describing word can change the meaning of your whole sentence.

After all, sometimes you don’t want to encourage others. Perhaps you want to share feelings about people, places, or things, because you’re unhappy with the way something is. In this case, you’ll probably speak about a noun using negative adjectives.

What are Negative Adjectives to Describe a Person?

Not all noun modifiers have a happy connotation. Some make listeners and readers think about sad, bad, or unhappy situations. There are just as many good describing words as there are bad. Let’s look at our examples again and change the sentences’ meaning.

  • Steve is bossy today.
  • Her cruel words fired up the crowd.
  • Suzy’s always aggressive with her classmates.

Compared to the first example sentences, how do these make you feel? The kind words from before might have made you smile. Now, however, the image that appears in your head portrays each situation in a negative light.

A change of just one word in a sentence can change the whole meaning and make you feel bad about a situation. If reading examples of emotionally happy or sad people changes your emotions, just imagine how your bad and good words can affect others.

  • You’re a narrow-minded team captain.
  • Look at your lousy math test grade.
  • That outfit looks horrific on you.

These examples don’t carry the same good emotions, do they? In addition to impacting how others feel, using these words also express how you think. Do you want to be someone who has good things to say, or who only speaks poorly about things? Your vocabulary when talking about nouns says a lot about who you are.

Are you an optimist who sees the best in people and situations? If so, you probably use more positive adjectives during your day-to-day conversations. Or do you have more of a pessimistic view about things? If so, chances are you don’t use as many good words to describe your world. Neither outlook is necessarily wrong, but there are many reasons why you should increase your vocabulary of quality describing words.

One of the most important reasons is to bring out the best in others. If you want people to live happy and successful lives, you should try to use kind words of encouragement. After all, helping people develop their skills is a lot easier when you are kind. Therefore, every word you use to describe a person, place, or thing should build them up with positive adjectives instead of breaking them down. Here are a few lists that will help you develop your vocabulary:

List of Positive Adjectives

Positive adjectives that start with A:

  • Able
  • Abundant
  • Aboveboard
  • Acceptable
  • Accurate
  • Achieving
  • Affordable
  • Adaptable
  • Ambitious

Adjectives that start with C to describe a person positively:

  • Calculated
  • Captivated
  • Careful
  • Casual
  • Calm
  • Capable
  • Certain
  • Charming
  • Cheerful
  • Cheery
  • Cherished
  • Chic
  • Civil
  • Clean
  • Comfortable
  • Cooperative
  • Cordial
  • Crafty
  • Cute
  • Clever

Positive adjectives that start with N:

  • Natural
  • Naturalistic
  • Neutral
  • Newborn
  • Needed
  • Neat
  • Necessary
  • New
  • Nifty
  • Nice
  • Nontoxic
  • Notable
  • Nourishing
  • Novel
  • Nurturant

Positive adjectives that start with T:

  • Tactful
  • Talented
  • Tasty
  • Taxing
  • Teachable
  • Thankful
  • Thoughtful
  • Through
  • Thrifty
  • Thrilled
  • Thriving
  • Timeless
  • Tolerant
  • Top-notch
  • Touching

Positive adjectives that start with T to describe a person:

  • Twinkly
  • Terrific
  • Truthful
  • Trusting
  • Trustworthy
  • Trusted
  • Tremendous
  • Treasured
  • Tranquil
  • Tidy
  • Tantalizing
  • Toned
  • Tricky
  • Tasteful
  • Triumphant

Additional positive adjectives to describe a person:

  • Perfect
  • Reasonable
  • Luxurious
  • Kind-hearted
  • Justified
  • Wonderful
  • Heroic
  • Glamorous
  • Forgiving
  • Expressive
  • Valuable
  • Dapper
  • Stunning
  • Beloved
  • Dazzled
  • Excellent
  • Flashy
  • Healing
  • Legit
  • Optimistic
  • Peaceful
  • Romantic
  • Loving
  • Faithful
  • Soothing

Some negative personality adjectives include:

  • Aggressive
  • Arrogant
  • Boastful
  • Bossy
  • Boring
  • Careless
  • Clingy
  • Cruel
  • Cowardly
  • Deceitful
  • Dishonest
  • Fussy
  • Greedy
  • Grumpy
  • Harsh
  • Impatient
  • Impulsive
  • Jealous
  • Moody
  • Narrow-minded
  • Overcritical
  • Rude
  • Selfish
  • Untrustworthy
  • Unhappy

Do you want more information on good and bad describing words? Take a look at this page and this further reading.

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