How do you describe a subject? You do it the same way as you describe any noun — with an adjective. But when the noun is the subject of the sentence, you use a predicate adjective and a linking verb to modify it.
- Andy's sports car is Italian. (Andy's sports car is the subject, is is the linking verb, Italian is the predicate adjective)
- He seems afraid of the dog. (He is the subject, seems is the linking verb, afraid is the predicate adjective)
- That music sounds wonderful. (That music is the subject, sounds is the linking verb, wonderful is the predicate adjective)
Examples of predicate adjectives in a sentence include:
- Children grow older every day with nurturing and care.
- The baby remains happy during her bath, and she goes to sleep as soon as it's done.
- Her lasagna smells scrumptious; even the neighbors want a bite!
- All the kittens are asleep except for one.
- The assignment proved difficult for our class, so my teacher explained it better.
- My neighbors are Japanese-American, but they don't speak any Japanese at all.
- Mary would be perfect for him.
- The ocean was aglow from the setting sun.
- Her costume is strange since it covers her entire face.
- The director remains hopeful in spite of bad reviews.
- Aspen leaves turn yellow in the fall.
- The two instruments look similar in size and color.
Can you use participial adjectives to describe a subject? You probably already know the answer — you can use any adjective at all, even a participial adjective that ends in -ed or -ing! For example:
- Bosses can be demanding when they want a project done well.
- His horses appeared well-groomed at the race.
- Tornadoes appear menacing if you've never lived through one.
- Traffic becomes congested after work because of the construction down the road.
- The senator was long-winded as he rambled through his speech.
- The road trip became horrifying as we got lost again and again.
- Your offer sounds enticing, but I must reject it.
- According to Jane, A Tale of Two Cities is an exciting book.
- Kelly felt ashamed when her sister made fun of her.
- We're talented enough to audition for the show.
You can even have two or more predicate adjectives in the same sentence! For example:
- Apples taste sweet and delicious.
- After my workout, I feel powerful and energized.
- The speaker is convincing and intelligent.
- Thank goodness you are alive and well.
- Your team was muddy, victorious and jubilant.
- This lemonade tastes sweet and refreshing.
- The climate here appears idyllic and temperate.
- The flowers were beautiful and fragrant.
- You look healthy and fit.
- Some football players are large, strong and agile.
- Mario is always punctual and prepared.
- The mountain air smells piney and clean.
If you'd like to use a multi-word adjective phrase as a predicate adjective, you can do that too. Just make sure it follows a linking verb and the subject of the sentence! For example:
- All the artifacts in the museum are extremely valuable.
- The purchase of the black opal ring is quite extravagant.
- The lumber is heavier than I thought.
- My blanket feels incredibly soft.
- This dish tastes too spicy.
- His stand-up routine proved surprisingly funny.
- The ballerina is delicately graceful.
- For eons, these mountains have remained stoically majestic.
Predicate adjectives are an important part of varying sentence structure, but using them too much may result in a tedious-sounding paragraph. For more sentence variety, check out: