Common and Proper Adjectives
Believe it or not, these li’l describers, a.k.a. noun modifiers give many writers fits. But they’re really very easy. An adjective describes a noun, plain and simple.
The first word of each example above describes the noun that follows it, so they’re adjectives.
The snarling black dog hid in the rickety garage.
Now, what are the adjectives? If you picked snarling, black and rickety, you get a gold star. These adjectives are also known as COMMON adjectives. But be careful because sometimes a verb can seem like an adjective and an adjective like a verb. If unsure, ask yourself what the subject of the sentence is doing. Upon first glance, some people might say snarling is a verb, but what’s the dog doing? It’s hiding. Also, you can take away some of the surrounding adjectives and leave the one you’re uncertain about and then ask yourself if it’s describing or if it’s doing. In this case, snarling is describing the dog. Snarling dog.
So, what’s a proper adjective?
A proper adjective is a capitalized word that describes a noun such as the following.
The Indonesian Islands.
The Victorian era furniture.
The Gucci purse and heels.
Now, pick out the common AND proper adjectives in the following sentence.
She put on her Louis Vuitton heels and slipped into a silky, black Vera Wang dress as Jake opened the 1992 Screaming Eagle wine and set it on the redwood table.
If you picked out Louis Vuitton, Vera Wang, and Screaming Eagle as the proper adjectives, and silky, black, 1992 (yes, numbers can be used as an adjective) and redwood as the common adjectives, you get two gold stars.