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Introduction to adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe stuff. They add more detail to nouns, like the color or quality of something. For example, in the phrase "the blue bear", "blue" is an adjective that modifies (meaning describes) the noun "bear". Adjectives are not essential for a sentence to make sense, but they make do make sentences more interesting.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] So, grammarians, we have this class of words called adjectives, and what they do is they change stuff. Adjectives... change stuff. Adjectives change stuff. They're part of this larger category of words that we call modifiers. Because that's what they do, they modify, they change things. So let's say I were to draw you a bear, a kinda human-looking, standing on two legs kinda bear, sure. I could refer to this bear and I could say, the bear. But I could also refer to this bear with a description, like, the friendly bear. But if that bear were blue, for instance, I could describe the bear as the blue bear. And in the blue bear the word blue modifies bear. Blue is an adjective that describes bear. So adjectives change stuff and they describe stuff. And if that bear were a different color it would be, you know, the red bear. And now that bear is red. Actually more of a salmon color, frankly. Let's put this into action with some sentences. Steven is Connie's best friend. Now what is the word that describes or changes another word in this sentence? If you guessed best, you were correct. Best modifies friend. So Steven is Connie's best friend. What is Steven? A friend. What kind of friend is he? The best friend. The enormous pie is not for sale. Now what's the adjective in that sentence? If you guessed enormous you would be correct. Enormous, which means very big, is modifying or changing the word pie. And I thought a little bit of word origins might be kind of useful here if we go back to the Latin. Now you don't, obviously you don't need to speak Latin in order to make sense of English, but I thought it would be cool to look at what adjective literally means. The word part, ad-, comes from the Latin meaning to or toward or on. And the -jective part comes from a Latin word, jacere. It means to throw. So, an adjective is something that's kind of thrown on or thrown on top of something, because you don't necessarily need adjectives in order for a sentence to make sense the way that you need to have a verb or the way that you need to have a noun. Adjectives are a little bit extra, they're thrown on top. These sentences would work on their own without the adjectives in them. Steven is Connie's friend. The pie is not for sale. You know, they would work. But what's nice about adjectives, and modifiers of all kinds, is that they add something extra, they add more detail. They change and describe stuff. That's what adjectives do. You can learn anything. David out.