Common Mistakes In The Use Of Adjectives

In this lesson we will take a look at some of the most common errors in the use of adjectives.

Incorrect: Open your book at six page.
Correct: Open your book at page six.

Incorrect: He is in class ninth.
Correct: He is in class nine.
Correct: He is in the ninth class.

After a noun we usually use a cardinal number (e.g. one, two, three, ten etc.) instead of an ordinal number. Before a noun we use an ordinal number (e.g. first, second, fifth, tenth etc.)

Incorrect: You are becoming young.
Correct: You are becoming younger.

Incorrect: It is getting dark.
Correct: It is getting darker.

You are becoming young is of course correct English, but English has a fondness for the use of the comparative form when change is implied in a sentence.

Incorrect: Of the two routes this is the shortest.
Correct: Of the two routes this is the shorter.

Incorrect: Of the three solutions this is the better.
Correct: Of the three solutions this is the best.

We use the comparative adjective to make a comparison between two people or things. We use the superlative adjective to make a comparison between more than two people or things.

Incorrect: There is a best singer in my class.
Correct: There is a very good singer in my class.

When no comparison is implied the positive adjective should be used.

Incorrect: I have never seen a so intelligent girl.
Correct: I have never seen so intelligent a girl.

Incorrect: He was a so generous man that he donated all his wealth to charity.
Correct: He was so generous a man that he donated all his wealth to charity.

The correct structure is so + adjective + a/an + singular countable noun.

Sections in this article

Adjectives placed before nouns
Adjectives placed after verbs
Adjectives without Nouns
Adjectives: order before nouns
Kinds of Adjectives
Adjectives with and
Complements of adjectives

See also

Adjective clauses

Relative clauses

Relative pronouns

Identifying relative clauses

Omission of relative pronouns

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