Adjectives modify nouns. Remember that nouns are people, places, things, states, qualities, etc. An adjective tells us what the noun is doing and helps to describe it:
A proper adjective is rooted in its noun. The proper noun ‘America,’ for example, has a similar proper adjective: ‘American’. The same is true for any country, for example:
- Britain / British
- India / Indian
- Syria / Syrian
- China / Chinese
- Israel / Israeli
- Russia / Russian
- Spain / Spanish
- Mexico / Mexican
- Cuba / Cuban
- Japan / Japanese
- Pakistan / Pakistani
Proper adjectives are always capitalized because they are rooted in proper nouns.
As you see, there are a few different endings: ‘an’, ‘ish’, ‘ese’, and ‘I’. Since these common adjectives are used often, you will learn the differences quickly.
Common adjectives are not capitalized because they are words we use every day and are not rooted in the proper noun. Here is a list of some common adjectives:
There are hundreds more, and far too many to list here. The important thing to remember is, common adjectives are not capitalized, proper adjectives are always capitalized.
Demonstrative adjectives point out nouns. They tell us this car, that sofa, these socks, those shoes.
Use this and that for singular nouns: this points to something close, while that points to something further away
- This house has been here for over 100 years.
- We will meet at that restaurant across the street.
Use these and those for plural nouns: those is used to point to something further away, while these points to something near.
- Those Americans were asking for directions.
- These cats are underfoot!