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Using Adjectives as Adjective Phrase Heads

Traditional grammars define adjectives as “words that describe nouns.”

In grammar, an adjective phrase consists of an adjective plus any modifiers or complements. Adjectives always function as the head of an adjective phrase. Examples of adjectives as adjective phrase heads include the following:

  • lonely
  • super special
  • exceedingly loud
  • afraid to fly
  • happy for the winner
  • positive that grammar is fun


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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