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How to Form Adjectives

 

Forming adjectives

1. Typical adjective endings (suffixes)

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

  1. -able/-ible understandable, comfortable, invisible, incredible
  2. -al/-ial mathematical, functional, influential, industrial
  3. -ful beautiful, wonderful, helpful, harmful
  4. -ic artistic, heroic, romantic, terrific
  5. -ive active, creative, inventive, attractive
  6. -less endless, hopeless, priceless, timeless
  7. -ous gorgeous, dangerous, famous, 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 Ease
Guilt
Easy
Guilty
-ful If ending with a ‘y‘, replace with an ‘i Beauty
Pain
Beautiful
Painful
-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

2. Forming adjectives from nouns and verbs

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

Noun Adjective
accident accidental
child childish
hero heroic
wind windy

From verbs:

Verb Adjective
enjoy enjoyable
play playful
read readable
use useful

Or even from other adjectives:

Adjective Adjective
comic comical
correct corrective
green greenish
sick sickly

3. Typical adjective beginnings (prefixes) 

Some adjectives can be formed by adding  a prefixes such as un-, in-, im-il- and ir- . Adding these prefixes makes the meaning negative:

  1. un- unfair, unhappy, unsure
  2. in- inactive, inappropriate, incomplete
  3. ir- irresponsible, irregular, irreducible
  4. im- imbalance, impolite, impossible
  5. il- illegal, illegible, illogical