So you want to know all about the predicate adjective, right?
Good. On this page you’ll find the answers to pressing metaphysical questions such as What is a predicate adjective? and Why should I care about it? and Would my grammar-hating girlfriend be mad if she found predicate adjectives in my browser’s search history?
You’ll also find predicate adjective examples in this post. Read on for more or use the links below to get right to a certain section.
- Predicate adjectives defined
- Examples of predicate adjectives
- Predicate adjectives vs. predicate nominatives
What Is a Predicate Adjective Anyway?
A predicate adjective is—and I hope you’re sitting down for this—an adjective that appears in the predicate and comes after a linking verb.
“Oh, that’s real helpful,” you’re probably saying. “Can’t you do better than that?”
Yes, I can.
A predicate, of course, is just the part of a sentence (or clause) that has a verb and says something about the subject.
For example, in the sentence My son hates clowns, the phrase my son is the subject and hates clowns is the predicate. (Note that a predicate doesn’t have to contain a predicate adjective.)
A linking verb is not an action verb. The classic linking verb is any form of be, such as is, are, am, was, were, etc. There are many other linking verbs, though, such as become, get, seem, appear, look, taste, smell, sound, and so on.
The fancy name for the “regular” type of adjective—one that sits right next to the noun it modifies—is an attributive adjective.
For example, the word angry in the angry sea lion is an attributive adjective.
Predicate Adjective Examples
Oh, gosh—where to begin? This post could never contain an exhaustive list of examples of predicate adjectives.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t try…
Below are examples of predicate adjectives. Don’t fall asleep reading, because this stuff is important!
If the predicate adjective examples above aren’t enough, then I’ll be happy to send you more.
Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address in the footer of this page along with a check for $1 million. (The fee goes towards coming up with predicate adjective examples, a task that just doesn’t pay what it used to…)
How Will Predicate Adjectives Affect My Life?
Well, to be honest, they won’t—at least not directly. But if you’re the sort of person who likes to know what things are called, then this little tidbit is one more thing that you can add to your store of knowledge.
If you’re a writer, then knowing about predicate adjectives could be helpful.
You see, these types of adjectives follow a verb, and that verb is always a linking verb.
Linking verbs are incredibly common in English, but they don’t really do that much from a meaning standpoint.
For example, if you want to talk about the fact that you have giant feet, you can say one of two things:
- I have giant feet.
- My feet are giant.
In the first sentence, giant is attributive. (It sits right next to feet.)
In the second sentence, however, giant is a predicate adjective. (It’s separated from feet, the noun that it modifies.)
As far as meaning goes, though, the two sentences above are basically the same.
But consider these two sentences:
- My feet are giant.
- My giant feet make dancing painful.
Now we’ve got something different.
In the first sentence—the one with the predicate adjective—the statement is about the size of the poor guy’s feet. (These sentences are not autobiographical, by the way. I wear a size 11.)
In the second sentence, giant is part of the noun phrase my giant feet. But the emphasis now is on the implications of having giant feet, namely, that they make it painful to dance.
See the difference?
So not using predicate adjectives actually lets you cram in more information in the subject than you otherwise would. It also lets you add commentary about the already described subject.
A Predicate Nominative and Predicate Adjective Walk into a Bar
That would make a great setup for a totally killer grammar joke, wouldn’t it? (No, I’m just kidding. There is no such thing as a killer grammar joke. But this one’s pretty good.)
The predicate nominative appears in green below:
Mrs. Moyer was my teacher.
(Switch Mrs. Moyer with my teacher and the point of the sentence remains the same.)
Stevie Wonder should have been the pianist at my wedding.
Bo Burnham is a comedian who can’t get his hand inside a Pringles can.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to learn new things, then check out this post on French swear words. (Warning: it contains a lot of cursing.)
If you like word origins, then take a look at these words that we get from other languages. Last, check out these 9 cool facts about language and you’ll be able to win a few good bar bets.