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Predicate Adjectives


Predicate Adjectives

Predicate Adjectives

A subject complement is a complement that identifies or modifies the subject of a linking verb.

A predicate adjective is a type of subject complement. A predicate adjective is an adjective that is in the predicate and that modifies or describes the subject of a linking verb.

  • The puppy seemed energetic after its bath. [The predicate adjective energetic describes the subject puppy.] 
  • Is this set of antique dishes complete? [The predicate adjective complete describes the subject set.]


Predicate Adjectives Note

Sometimes writers place a predicate adjective before the subject and the verb for emphasis.

  • Hot and muggy was our hike through the woods. [The predicate adjectives Hot and muggy modify the subject hike.]


Predicate Adjectives Note

Not all adjectives that are in the predicate are predicate adjectives. Remember that a predicate adjective describes only the subject.

  • The Pirates of Penzance is probably popular among fans of musicals. [Popular is a predicate adjective because it completes the meaning of the linking verb is and describes the subject The Pirates of Penzance.] 
  • The Pirates of Penzance is probably a popular production among fans of musicals. [The adjective popular describes production, not the subject The Pirates of Penzance. Popular is not a predicate adjective.]

Compound Predicate Adjectives

A predicate adjective may be compound.

  • These porcelain vases are rare and expensive. [The predicate adjectives rare and expensive describe the subject vases.]

Predicate Adjectives Quiz

Choose the predicate adjective in each of the following sentences.


Q: What is a predicate adjective?
A: A predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies or describes the subject of the sentence (Lester & Cheek, 2021).

Q: What are some examples of predicate adjectives?
A: Examples of predicate adjectives include: He seems tired. She looked cheerful. They got anxious waiting for the results. The soup tasted delicious (Clarke, 2020).

Q: What verbs can predicate adjectives follow?
A: Predicate adjectives typically follow linking verbs like forms of be, become, feel, appear, look, stay, sound, taste, etc. (Rumisek & Zipp, 2017).

Q: How is a predicate adjective different from a subject complement?
A: A subject complement can be an adjective or noun that renames or describes the subject. Predicate adjectives are always adjectives (Lester & Cheek, 2021).

Q: Can a sentence have multiple predicate adjectives?
A: Yes, a sentence can have two or more predicate adjectives that describe the same subject. Example: The day grew bright and sunny.


  1. Lester, M., & Cheek, E. H. (2021). The comprehensive handbook of English grammar and usage. Long Island, NY: Bitter Lemon Press.
  2. Clarke, A. (2020). Story grammar for elementary school: A workbook for students and teachers. New York, NY: Routledge.
  3. Rumisek, L., & Zipp, G. (2017). Grammar of American English: Structure, sounds, and meaning. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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