The Power of Adjectives

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Competent writing begins with understanding basic sentence structure. It's true! Today, let's talk specifically about the POWER of the adjective.

Learning the Shurley English Adjective Jingle during Jingle Time is the first step to leaning about adjectives!  The basic information recited explains (1) what an adjective is, (2) what an adjective does, and (3) how to locate an adjective in a sentence. 

Reciting the Adjective Jingle regularly helps students easily remember the grammar concept.  Once they grasp the basic understanding, they can begin to effectively and strategically apply adjectives when speaking and writing. 

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There’s more to adjectives than the information provided in the jingle.  You see, adjectives are a part of speech with POWER, and their job in the sentence is exclusive!  Only an adjective can modify a noun or pronoun by telling what kind, which one, or how many.   Only adjectives can be used to describe how something feels, looks, sounds, tastes, and acts!

Besides common adjectives like short, last, and ten, there are five distinct categories of adjectives you should know:  (A) article adjectives, (B) proper adjectives, (C) demonstrative adjectives, (D) interrogative adjectives, and (E) indefinite adjectives.


Five Categories of Adjectives:

1. Article Adjectives:  Only three commonly used adjectives are called article adjectives.  They are a, an, and the.   We use them on a daily basis when speaking and writing without giving them much thought.  The article adjectives actually restrict the meanings of the nouns they modify.  For instance, the article “the” is a definite article, meaning a specific person, place, or thing.  A and an are indefinite articles, meaning one of several.

Hint:  Use the sound of the noun’s first letter to select a or an

-If the noun begins with a consonant, use the article adjective “a” before it.    

-If the noun begins with a vowel, use the article adjective “an” before it.


2.  Proper Adjectives:  Adjectives formed from a proper noun are called proper adjectives.  Proper Adjectives are always capitalized no matter where they are located in the sentence.  (I love Mexican food, English is my second language.) 


3.  Demonstrative Adjectives: The adjectives we use to point out a particular person, place, or thing are called demonstrative adjectives.  These adjectives modify the noun or pronoun by telling “which one,” specifically.  (This coat is mine.)  To use the correct demonstrative adjective, you must use the following Tips:

Ask:  Is the demonstrative adjective modifying a singular or plural noun? 

-Use the demonstrative adjectives “this or that” to modify a singular noun. 

-Use the demonstrative adjectives “these or those” to modify plural nouns. 


4.  Interrogative Adjectives:  The adjective used in front of the noun it modifies to ask the questions what, which, or whose is called an interrogative adjective.  (Which desk is Nancy’s?)


5.  Indefinite Adjectives: An indefinite adjective is an adjective formed from an indefinite pronoun.  It modifies a noun instead of replacing it.  Indefinite adjectives are used to qualify nouns and express the indefinite idea of quality or quantity.  Some common indefinite adjectives include words like any, each, few, many, more, several, and some, etc.    (Each student contributed several food items during the food drive.)


Use any category of adjectives with competence and confidence by learning about them and applying them when you’re speaking and writing.  Before long, you’ll be effectively and strategically using them as you speak and write for all purposes!

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Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK.