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List of Adjectives: Types and How They Are Used

Are you looking for the perfect word to describe someone, somewhere, or something? If so, there are many great words to choose from in the English language. Yet, without a list of adjectives on hand, it’s hard to remember every single word you know. 

Luckily, you have access to this helpful adjectives list! Use it whenever you want a fresh and exciting way to talk about a noun or pronoun. Plus, if you study new words on this adjective list, you’ll expand your vocabulary. For a printable PDF to keep on your desk, visit this informative site.

There are many different words on a list of adjectives. Some are similar in nature or have identical meanings, while others are very different from one another. Because there are so many adjectives, it’s better to learn them all in their individual groups.

There are two main categories of words you’ll find on a list of adjectives: Descriptive words and limiting words. Each has its own adjective list subcategories. Here’s an overview of what is covered in this guide:

  • A Descriptive Adjectives List
    • Attributive and Predicate Words
  • A Limiting Adjectives List
    • Cardinal Adjective List
    • Definite and Indefinite Articles
    • Demonstrative Adjective List
    • Interrogative Adjective List
    • Nouns that Function as Limiting Words
    • Ordinal Words
    • Possessive Words
    • Proper Words
  • A List of Adjectives for…
    • Advanced Descriptive Adjectives List
    • List of Adjectives for Kids
    • Personality Adjectives List
    • General List of Positive Adjectives
    • A List of Adjectives of Sensory Words

Let’s begin with a descriptive adjectives list and the subcategories of descriptive words.

A Descriptive Adjectives List

In short, descriptive words describe things. Here are some common examples below. This could also be a list of adjectives for kids:

List of positive adjectives:

  • Clean
  • Excited
  • Good
  • Happy
  • Healthy
  • Sweet

List of negative adjectives:

  • Bad
  • Dirty
  • Gross
  • Hard
  • Sad
  • Unhealthy

List of general adjectives (positive or negative depending on context):

  • Busy
  • Cold
  • Dry
  • Hot
  • Long
  • Narrow
  • Quiet
  • Rainy
  • Short
  • Sour
  • Tiny
  • Wet
  • Wide

You’ve probably heard all of the words on this descriptive adjectives list before. To learn a few more advanced descriptive words, go to the section “A List Adjectives for…”

Many descriptive adjectives can also be paired as opposites of each other. Below is a descriptive adjectives list with pairs of opposite words. You’ll recognize a few words from the list of positive adjectives, list of negative adjectives, and list of general adjectives.

Happy  Sad
Good Bad
Dry Wet
High Low
Thin Fat
Wide Narrow
Internal External

 

Within descriptive words, there are two subcategories: attributive and predicate words. Both subcategories are similar in that they both modify a noun. However, both do things a bit differently and have slightly different uses. 

Attributive and Predicate Words

Attributive and predicate words are like two sides of the same coin. You can find attributive words in a sentence directly beside a noun. Most of the time, it comes before the noun or pronoun. 

  • The leaping lizard.
  • An argumentative anteater.
  • The humongous hippo.

Predicative words on the other hand come after a noun, following a verb. A predicate gets its name from being within the predicate of the sentence.

  • She has wavy hair.
  • Jeffrey is jovial.
  • Is your crossword puzzle fun?
  • Our flight was exhausting.

Below is a good-sized adjectives list. Depending on the sentence, some of these words could function as either an attributive or predicative word. However, some can only function as one or the other. 

Can you figure out which words only fit as an attributive (before a noun) or predicative (after a noun and verb) word?

  • Afraid
  • Asleep
  • Easy
  • Exciting
  • Hot
  • Pleased
  • Ready
  • Sick
  • Single
  • Southern
  • Stone
  • Summer
  • Total
  • Urban
  • Woolen

Finding this all a little challenging? Skip to the “A List of Adjectives for…” section. There is a general list of positive adjectives, a personality adjectives list, a list of adjectives for kids, and more!

A Limiting Adjectives List

The second category of adjectives contains limiting words. Whereas some words describe nouns, many do not. These words instead restrict nouns and pronouns. Limiting words let a reader or listener know the exact thing you’re talking about, by defining it. 

There are many subcategories of limiting adjectives/words. But don’t worry, there’s a description of each type below, and there’s an adjectives list for each subcategory for you to review. Here’s a list of adjectives that features a few common limiting words:

  • A
  • An
  • Either
  • My
  • The
  • Theirs
  • These
  • Those
  • Twelve
  • Which

This list of adjectives has words that don’t seem very similar to each other. However, each fits into a different subcategory of limiting words that we will explore next.

Cardinal Adjective List

Cardinal words are easy to remember. Basically, they tell you the number of a noun.

  • I have over fifty gel pens in my backpack.
  • Is it possible for Tim to have three best friends?
  • She’s seen this movie at least one hundred times already.

Here’s a short cardinal adjectives list:

  • One
  • Three
  • Twenty-two
  • Eighty-seven
  • One million five hundred thirty-six thousand seven hundred and forty-two.

That’s right! Any numbers you can think of can become cardinal words!

Before you move on to the next type of limiting word, learn a thing or two about APA format. Then afterward, if you need help checking your writing, visit this helpful grammar check.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

The definite article defines a specific noun. An indefinite article points to a nonspecific noun. There’s one definite article, the, and two indefinite articles, a and an.+

  • The cat on top of my hat.
  • Is there a cat on top of my hat?
  • But mommy, I want a crocodile for Christmas!

Demonstrative Adjective List

You may already know the demonstrative pronouns: 

  • What
  • This
  • That
  • These
  • Those

If you do, then you already know all the demonstrative words. Each one makes the demonstrative adjectives list because each one can modify a noun or noun phrase.

  • This music is amazing.
  • That book is a best-seller.
  • Those boys are twins.

Interrogative Adjective List

Similarly, the interrogative list of adjectives contains the same words you find on an interrogative pronoun list. These words are what and which. Again, in this use, what and which modify a noun or noun phrase.

  • Which glass is Frank’s? He’d like more water please.
  • What movie would you like to watch? Peter Pan is a classic.

Nouns that Function as Limiting Words

One of the most interesting occurrences is when one part of speech imitates another. That’s exactly what happens when you have nouns that function as limiting words.

  • A production factory.
  • Steven’s a showboat actor.
  • I’m going to the video game museum.

Ordinal Words

An ordinal word tells you the order of a noun in a series.

  • I enjoyed the first Karate Kid movie.
  • I thought the second Back to the Future movie was best.

An ordinal adjectives list contains words like forth, sixtieth, and even seven hundred and first.

Possessive Words

Possessive words explain who has ownership or possession of something.

A short adjectives list showing possession includes: my, your, our, his, her, its, and their.

  • Please return my pen.
  • Your hat is over there.
  • Their food is getting cold.

Proper Words

You capitalize a proper word because it’s derived from a proper noun.

  • I think I’ll try your American coffee blend.
  • Can she try a slice of your homemade Russian honey cake?
  • Would you like French fries with that?

A List of Adjectives for …

Now that you know the basics, further expand your adjective knowledge by checking out a few other lists below. We’ll cover more advanced descriptive adjectives, a list of adjectives for kids, a personality adjectives list, a list of positive adjectives, and finally a list of adjectives for sensory words. For another printable PDF, click to this site.

An Additional Descriptive Adjectives List

This list includes more advanced descriptive adjectives than listed previously.

  • Bellicose
  • Comprehensive
  • Decent
  • Efficacious
  • Impartial
  • Incendiary
  • Investigative
  • Loving
  • Juvenile
  • Quirky
  • Rational
  • Petulant
  • Original
  • Welcoming

Are there any words that you don’t know? DoOn’t fret! It only takes a minute to look them up in a dictionary.

List of Adjectives for Kids

Words that are great for children include:

  • Brave
  • Clever
  • Afraid
  • Wise
  • Happy
  • Cheerful
  • Polite
  • Quiet
  • Quick
  • Glowing
  • Fair

A Personality Adjectives List

There are many words that describe personality. We’ve divided up this list into two sections: A positive personality adjectives list, and a negative personality adjectives list. Let’s start with a few positive ones.

Positive Personality Adjectives List:

  • Caring
  • Dependable
  • Energetic
  • Generous 
  • Happy
  • Hardworking
  • Friendly
  • Fun
  • Lovable
  • Loyal
  • Polite
  • Truthful
  • Understanding

To complement the list of positive adjectives above, we’ve included a negative list of adjectives next.

Negative Personality Adjectives List:

  • Biased
  • Cowardly
  • Clumsy
  • Hasty
  • Incapable
  • Irresponsible
  • Picky
  • Rude
  • Spoiled
  • Stingy
  • Unkind

General List of Positive Adjectives

The list of positive adjectives shares a few excellent describing words, including:

  • Adorable
  • Amusing
  • Awesome
  • Beautiful
  • Calm
  • Excited
  • Fantastic
  • Friendly
  • Good
  • Happy
  • Sensible
  • Sturdy
  • Truthful
  • Wonderful

A List of Adjectives of Sensory Words

This list of adjectives touches upon words that relate to our five senses: Touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. Each type gives a few adjective examples.

Touch List of Adjectives:

  • Cold
  • Hard
  • Hot
  • Rough
  • Smoot
  • Soft

Taste List of Adjectives:

  • Bitter
  • Salty
  • Savory
  • Spicy
  • Sour
  • Sweet

Smell List of Adjectives:

  • Fresh
  • Smelly
  • Smoky
  • Stinky
  • Sweet

Hearing List of Adjectives:

  • Brassy
  • Dull
  • High-pitched
  • Loud
  • Noisy
  • Soft

Sight List of Adjectives:

  • Blurry
  • Bright
  • Clear
  • Colorful
  • Dark

Congratulations on learning so many adjectives! You’ve gone from learning what descriptive and limiting words are, to memorizing a personality adjectives list, to revising a list of adjectives for kids. Now that you’re done, take a few minutes to learn about MLA format and more styles of citation for your next English paper!


Published March 9, 2019. Updated May 22, 2020.

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