Adjective phrases

What is an adjective phrase?

An adjective phrase is a group of words that modify a noun or pronoun in a sentence. They function in two basic ways:

1. Attributively:

Appearing inside a noun phrase and modifingy that noun phrase.


They bought a very expensive car

→"very expensive" is the adjective phrase;

→"expensive" is the adjective;

→"car" is the noun modified by the adjective phrase.

"a very expensive car" is a noun phrase.

2. Predicatively:

Appearing outside the noun phrase that they modify and typically following a linking verb.


The exercise was unbelievably difficult.

→"unbelievably difficult" is the adjective phrase;

→"difficult" is the adjective;

→"The exercise" is the noun phrase modified by the adjective phrase.

Position of the adjective in a phrasal adjective

The adjective in an adjective phrase can:

1. Come at the beginning:


He's keen on her.

→"keen" initiate the adjective phrase "keen on her."

2. Be in a medial position:


He was quite interested in her.

→"interested" comes in a medial position of the adjective phrase "quite interested in her."

3. Come at the end of the phrase:

He was very happy.

→"happy" comes at the end of the adjective phrase "very happy."

Adjective phrase dependents

The dependents of the head adjective can be :

  1. adverbs:
    She is extremely beautiful.
  2. Prepositional phrases:
    He is fond of her
  3. Clauses:
    Kate is much nicer than Leila thinks she is.

More examples of adjective phrases

  • I am quite interested in her.
  • I don't like very spicy food
  • The noise was annoyingly loud.
  • The overly enthusiastic new employee finished the job.

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