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Forming adjectives

Typical adjective endings

Some adjectives can be identified by their endings. Typical adjective endings include:

  1. -able/-ible understandable, capable, readable, incredible
  2. -al mathematical, functional, influential, chemical
  3. -ful beautiful, bashful, helpful, harmful
  4. -ic artistic, manic, rustic, terrific
  5. -ive submissive, intuitive, inventive, attractive
  6. -less sleeveless, hopeless, groundless, restless
  7. -ous gorgeous, dangerous, adventurous, fabulous

Sometimes when adding these endings changes have to be made. Here are some rules for forming adjectives and their exceptions:

Add Exceptions Word Adjective
-al If ending with an ‘e‘, drop it Nature
Function
Natural
Functional
-y If ending with an ‘e‘, drop it Ice
Oil
Icy
Oily
-ful If ending with a ‘y‘, replace with an ‘i Beauty
Peace
Beautiful
Peaceful
-ous/-ious If ending with a ‘y‘, drop it Mystery
Danger
Mysterious
Dangerous
-ic If ending with a ‘y‘, drop it History
Rust
Historic
Rustic

Forming adjectives from nouns and verbs

Adjectives can be formed from different words. They can be formed from nouns:

Noun Adjective
accident accidental
danger dangerous
length long
star starry
wind windy

From verbs:

Verb Adjective
enjoy enjoyable
help helpful
obey obedient
play playful
talk talkative

Or even from other adjectives:

Adjective Adjective
comic comical
correct corrective
elder elderly
red reddish
sick sickly

Examples of forming adjectives

  1. Our house color is a kind of yellow. → We live in a yellowish house.
  2. He often acts like a child. → He often acts in a childish way.
  3. The event was a big success. → We enjoyed a successful event.
  4. We enjoyed the sound of the drum’s rhythm. → We enjoyed the drum’s rhythmic sound.
  5. She adopted a dog without a home. → She adopted a homeless dog.
  6. Look out, that plant is poison. → Look out for that poisonous plant.
  7. It looks like it will rain today. → It looks like we’ll have rainy weather today.
  8. She always acts with courtesy. → She always behaves in a courteous manner.
  9. Her hair is pretty. → She has the prettiest hair.
  10. We go for a walk each day. → We go for a daily walk.

Forming adjectives exercises

1. Choose the adjective from each of the following groups of words:

  1. inventive, invent, invented
  2. curiosity, curious, curiousive
  3. proliferate, prolific, proud

Answers: A – inventive B – curious C – prolific

2. Form adjectives from the following nouns:

  1. smell
  2. chill
  3. width

Answers: A – smelly B – chilly C – wide

3. Form adjectives from the following verbs:

  1. interested
  2. amazed
  3. annoyed

Answers: A – interesting B – amazing C – annoying

4. Form adjectives from the following verbs. Some words may be formed into more than one adjective:

  1. escape
  2. improve
  3. damage

Answers: A – escaped, escaping B – improved, improving C – damaged, damaging

5. Form longer adjectives from the following adjectives. Some words may be formed into more than one adjective:

  1. funny
  2. incorrect
  3. blue

Answers: A – funnier, funniest B – incorrectly C – bluest, bluer, blueish

6. Form adjectives from the following nouns:

  1. magic
  2. fool
  3. lady

Answers: A – magical B – foolish C – ladylike

7. Form two adjectives from each of the following nouns:

  1. life
  2. power
  3. friend

Answers: A – lifelike, lifeless B – powerful, powerless C – friendly, friendless

8. Form adjectives from each of the following nouns:

  1. cost
  2. war
  3. month

Answers: A – costly B – warlike C – monthly

9. Form adjectives from each of the following nouns:

  1. poison
  2. courtesy
  3. mystery

Answers: A – poisonous B – courteous C – mysterious

10. Form adjectives from each of the following nouns:

  1. athlete
  2. photograph
  3. science

Answers: A – athletic B – photographic C – scientific

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