What is a predicate adjective?

A predicate adjective is an adjective that comes after a linking verb and modifies or describes the subject of the sentence. Linking verbs connect the subject to more information about the subject, often in the form of an adjective.

For example:

  • The cake tastes sweet.

In this sentence, “cake” is the subject. “Tastes” is the linking verb, and “sweet” is the predicate adjective because it describes a characteristic of the cake.

Here are some more examples of predicate adjectives:

  • My brother feels ill today. (Ill describes brother)
  • The flowers looked wilted and droopy. (Wilted and droopy describe flowers)
  • That puppy seems cute and playful. (Cute and playful describe puppy)
  • Her voice sounded melodic and soothing. (Melodic and soothing describe voice)

In each of these sentences, the linking verb (tastes, feels, looked, seems, sounds) links the subject to the predicate adjective that describes it (sweet, ill, wilted, cute, melodic).

The most common linking verbs that take predicate adjectives are forms of “to be”, like is, was, were; “seem” and “appear”; and senses like “look”, “feel”, “smell”, “sound”, and “taste”.

So in summary, predicate adjectives are found in sentences that have:

  • A subject
  • A linking verb
  • An adjective describing the subject that comes after the linking verb

Identifying predicate adjectives is a useful skill in understanding sentence structure.

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