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Noun vs. Adjective: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on March 6, 2024
A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea, while an adjective modifies or describes nouns.
Noun vs. Adjective

Key Differences

Nouns are the building blocks of sentences, representing people, places, things, or ideas. For example, 'dog', 'city', and 'happiness' are all nouns. Adjectives, on the other hand, provide more information about nouns, describing qualities or states. They can describe color, size, emotion, or other characteristics, like in 'red apple' or 'tall building'.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 06, 2024
While nouns can act as subjects, objects, or complements in a sentence, adjectives always modify or give specific information about nouns. For example, in the sentence "The fast runner won the race," 'runner' is a noun and 'fast' is the adjective modifying it.
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Mar 06, 2024
Nouns can be proper (naming specific entities, like 'New York') or common (general names, like 'city'). Adjectives, however, do not have such classifications and are primarily used to express qualities, quantities, or states of a noun.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 06, 2024
Another key difference is that nouns can be pluralized (e.g., 'cats', 'buses'), whereas adjectives remain the same regardless of the number of nouns they describe (e.g., 'red' in both 'red apple' and 'red apples').
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Mar 06, 2024
Nouns can be the main subject of a verb, but adjectives cannot. Adjectives, instead, are dependent on nouns for their role in a sentence. For example, in "Happiness is contagious," 'happiness' is a noun and the subject, whereas in "The happy child played," 'happy' is an adjective describing the noun 'child'.
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Shumaila Saeed
Mar 06, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Function in a Sentence

Names a person, place, thing, or idea
Describes or modifies a noun
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Mar 06, 2024

Types

Can be proper or common
Descriptive, quantitative, demonstrative, etc.
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Mar 06, 2024

Pluralization

Can be pluralized (e.g., 'dogs', 'ideas')
Not pluralized
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Mar 06, 2024

Position in a Sentence

Can be a subject, object, or complement
Usually precedes or follows the noun it modifies
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Mar 06, 2024

Dependence

Can stand alone as a subject or object
Depends on a noun for its context
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Noun and Adjective Definitions

Noun

A noun is a word that names a thing.
The table is made of wood.
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Jan 25, 2024

Adjective

An adjective describes a quality of a noun.
The red apple tasted sweet.
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Jan 25, 2024

Noun

A noun is a word that names a person.
The teacher explained the lesson.
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Jan 25, 2024

Adjective

An adjective indicates the quantity of a noun.
She has several books.
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Jan 25, 2024

Noun

A noun is a word that names an animal.
A dolphin is known for its intelligence.
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Adjective

An adjective expresses the size of a noun.
A large elephant roamed the savannah.
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Jan 25, 2024

Noun

A noun is a word that names a place.
Paris is a beautiful city.
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Jan 25, 2024

Adjective

An adjective denotes the color of a noun.
The blue sky is clear today.
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Jan 25, 2024

Noun

The part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action and can function as the subject or object of a verb, the object of a preposition, or an appositive.
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Adjective

The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as neighbor, window, happiness, or negotiation.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as white in the phrase a white house.
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Noun

A word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as person, animal, place, thing, phenomenon, substance, quality, or idea; one of the basic parts of speech in many languages, including English.
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Adjective

Adjectival
An adjective clause.
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Noun

Either a word that can be used to refer to a person, animal, place, thing, phenomenon, substance, quality or idea, or a word that modifies or describes a previous word or its referent; a substantive or adjective, sometimes also including other parts of speech such as numeral or pronoun.
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Adjective

(Law) Specifying the processes by which rights are enforced, as opposed to the establishing of such rights; remedial
Adjective law.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

(computing) An object within a user interface to which a certain action or transformation (i.e., verb) is applied.
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Adjective

Not standing alone; derivative or dependent.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

(transitive) To convert a word to a noun.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

(grammar) A word that modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes a noun’s referent.
The words “big” and “heavy” are English adjectives.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

A word used as the designation or appellation of a creature or thing, existing in fact or in thought; a substantive.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

(obsolete) A dependent; an accessory.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

A word that can be used to refer to a person or place or thing
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

(grammar) Adjectival; pertaining to or functioning as an adjective.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

A word that can serve as the subject or object of a verb
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

(legal) Applying to methods of enforcement and rules of procedure.
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Jan 22, 2024

Noun

A noun is a word that names an idea.
Freedom is important to them.
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Jan 25, 2024

Adjective

Needing the use of a mordant to be made fast to that which is being dyed.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Incapable of independent function.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

(transitive) To make an adjective of; to form or convert into an adjective.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

To characterize with an adjective; to describe by using an adjective.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Added to a substantive as an attribute; of the nature of an adjunct; as, an adjective word or sentence.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Not standing by itself; dependent.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Relating to procedure.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

A word used with a noun, or substantive, to express a quality of the thing named, or something attributed to it, or to limit or define it, or to specify or describe a thing, as distinct from something else. Thus, in phrase, "a wise ruler," wise is the adjective, expressing a property of ruler.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

A dependent; an accessory.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

To make an adjective of; to form or change into an adjective.
Language has as much occasion to adjective the distinct signification of the verb, and to adjective also the mood, as it has to adjective time. It has . . . adjectived all three.
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

A word that expresses an attribute of something
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

The word class that qualifies nouns
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Of or relating to or functioning as an adjective;
Adjectival syntax
An adjective clause
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

Applying to methods of enforcement and rules of procedure;
Adjective law
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Jan 22, 2024

Adjective

An adjective conveys the age of a noun.
The old mansion stood abandoned.
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Jan 25, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are proper nouns capitalized?

Yes, proper nouns are always capitalized.
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Mar 06, 2024

Do adjectives change form?

Adjectives generally don't change form for number or gender.
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Can a noun be the main subject?

Yes, nouns often serve as the main subject in sentences.
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Can nouns be plural?

Yes, nouns can be singular or plural.
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Can adjectives come after nouns?

Yes, in some cases, like "The sky is blue."
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What's an example of a noun phrase?

"The quick brown fox" is a noun phrase.
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What is a noun?

A word naming a person, place, thing, or idea.
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Are all nouns tangible?

No, nouns can be intangible, like ideas or emotions.
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What is an adjective?

A word that modifies or describes a noun.
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Can an adjective stand alone?

No, adjectives are used with nouns.
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Are adjectives necessary in a sentence?

Not always, but they add detail.
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Can adjectives express emotion?

Yes, like 'happy' or 'sad'.
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Can adjectives compare things?

Yes, with comparative and superlative forms.
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Are all proper nouns specific names?

Yes, they name specific entities.
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Can a word be both a noun and an adjective?

Yes, depending on usage, like 'light'.
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Mar 06, 2024

Do adjectives reflect the gender of nouns?

Not in English, but in some languages, they do.
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Mar 06, 2024

Can nouns act as adjectives?

Yes, in noun adjuncts like 'chicken soup'.
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Are collective nouns singular or plural?

They are singular in form but represent a group.
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Do adjectives have a specific order?

Yes, typically opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, purpose.
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Are there different types of nouns?

Yes, including common, proper, collective, and abstract.
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Mar 06, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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