Vocabulary and Adjectives Help Study Guide

Updated on Jul 15, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Vocabulary and Adjectives Help Practice Exercises

Remember that lesson you did on nouns? Adjectives, as you may recall, are words that modify or describe nouns. In other words, when you write about a book, movie, person, or house, you use adjectives to give details about them: it was an abysmal book, an enlightening movie, an engaging person, or a monstrous house. Get the picture? Adjectives exist to help you, well, paint a picture. They allow writers to be artists and use words to create images.

Think about your favorite authors and books you enjoy reading the most. As you read, you see images in your head of the places, the characters, and the actions. Most likely, you create those images thanks to all of the adjectives the author used. (Adverbs also help create images, but we won't cover them until Day 7, so be patient.)

Knowing a wide variety of adjectives will make it easier for you to use that proverbial paintbrush and create images with your spoken and written words. You'll be able to better express yourself, whether you're trying to write the world's best book report or trying to explain over the phone to tech support what your DVD megachanger is doing wrong!

Here are some great adjectives. See how many you can work into your conversations this week. You never know who might be listening!

Just to Confuse You

Many adjectives turn into adverbs just because an -ly ending is added. Isn't that weird?


  • affluent having an abundance of wealth or material goods; rich, wealthy
  • agrarian of, relating to, or concerned with farmers or farming interests; agricultural
  • cadaverous resembling a corpse, ghastly
  • caustic likely to offend or hurt someone's feelings

[In the world of chemistry, this means capable of eating away by chemical reaction. See the similarity?]

  • decadent of moral/ethical or cultural decay or decline
  • despicable deserving of contempt
  • dogmatic asserting opinions in an arrogant manner, opinionated
  • ethereal light, airy, extremely delicate or refined
  • flippant frivolously disrespectful, shallow, or lacking in seriousness
  • haggard having a gaunt, wasted, or exhausted appearance, usually due to suffering or anxiety
  • homogeneous all of the same, or similar in, nature

[In the world of biology, this is used to indicate a structure that has a common origin.]

  • intrinsic belonging to a thing by its very nature, inherent
  • lucrative producing a profit, moneymaking
  • macabre gruesome, ghastly, or horrifying
  • mundane of or pertaining to the real world; common or ordinary
  • nebulous hazy, indistinct, cloudy, confused

[In the astronomical world, a nebula is typically an interstellar cloud of gas or dust.]

  • pathological caused by or involving disease
  • repugnant distasteful or offensive; opposed or contrary
  • salient prominent or conspicuous; projecting or pointing outward
  • utilitarian of useful function, pertaining to utility

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Vocabulary and Adjectives Help Practice Exercises

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