As you look over your writing from last week, you should check for the four problems described here. They are the most common adjective problems for ESL learners.
If your sentence looks like....A machine is in a parking lot.
Then you... ...aren't using adjectives.
Did you forget to add description? Many people do! You can see my sample sentence does not describe anyone or anything in detail.
If your sentence looks like...A big machine is in a little parking lot.
Then you......have boring adjectives.
New. Great. Nice. Bad. Sad. These are adjectives, but they are used a little too often! It is more effective to replace them with synonyms.
If your sentence looks like...A Chinese, huge, yellow machine is in a square, tiny parking lot.
Then you......have mixed up adjectives.
Believe it or not, lists of adjectives have an order they typically follow. Unfortunately, this order is rarely discussed because most native speakers have developed it as an inborn sense. Observe native speakers and try to categorize the order they use.
If your sentence looks like...An interested yellow machine is in a tiny parking lot.
Then you......are a little confused about when to use -ing and -ed adjectives.
Confused and confusing are used slightly differently. But when should you use each one? In general, -ing endings are used for situations that impact how you feel while -ed endings are used to explain your feeling.
You can find more practice and lessons on these adjective issues in East Bay ESL’s e-book, Back Pocket Grammar: Adjectives.
East Bay ESL is an English language school for adult students in the San Francisco East Bay.