What is a predicate adjective? Examples and rules

In this post, we learn what a predicate adjective is, how to identify it, and how to use it in sentences.

What is a predicate adjective in English?

Predicate adjective definition: a predicate adjective is an adjective that sits next to a linking verb and modifies the subject of a sentence.

A predicate adjective is a type of subject complement as it identifies the subject and completes its meaning by giving information about it. Please note that a predicate adjective is essential to the meaning of the sentence it comes in. The sentence is incomplete without it.

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Everyone is beautiful.

The word ‘beautiful’ is a predicate adjective in the sentence. It comes right next to the linking verb ‘is’ and gives information about the subject ‘everyone’.

The food was cold. I didn’t eat it.

In this sentence, the word ‘cold’ is a predicate adjective. It modifies the subject ‘the food’. It comes after the linking verb ‘was’.

The poster looks nice to me.

The word ‘nice’ is the predicate adjective in the sentence, modifying the subject ‘the poster’. Try removing it from the sentence; the sentence looks incomplete without it.

More examples of predicate adjectives:

  • The food smells tasty.
  • This is not helpful.
  • The kid looks adorable.
  • The book that you bought me the other day is informative.
  • All of you have been supportive.
  • Jon was great last night.
  • Many people will be homeless if this bill gets passed.
  • You should try to be supportive.
  • None of this looks clean to me.
  • Tom must be busy with work.
  • Your boy is creative. Don’t force him to do something he does not like.

What is a linking verb in English?

A linking verb is a type of main verb that links the subject of a sentence to something called a subject complement.

A subject complement is a word or a group of words that identifies the subject and completes its meaning by either renaming it or modifying it. A noun as the subject complement (predicate nominative) renames the subject, and an adjective as the subject complement (predicate adjective) modifies the subject.

  • Jon is an excellent teacher. (A noun phrase that’s giving the subject a new name)
  • Jon is extremely nice. (An adjective phrase that’s modifying the subject)

In both examples, the subject complements are coming after the linking verb: IS.

A list of linking verbs in English

TO BE: is, am, are, was, were, may be, might be,
should be, would be, can be, could be, must be, will be, shall be,

BEING: is being, am being, are being, was being, were being, has been, have been, had been,

BEEN: may have been, must have been, could have, should have been,
will have been, shall have been, might have been
TO SEEMseem, seems, seemed
TO LOOKlook, looks, looked
TO FEELfeel, feels, felt
TO SOUNDsound, sounds, sounded
TO TASTEtaste, tastes, tasted
TO SMELLsmell, smells, smelt
TO STAYstay, stays, stayed
TO BECOMEbecome, becomes, became
TO GOgo, goes, went, gone
TO REMAINremain, remains, remained
TO TURNturn, turns, turned
TO GETget, gets, got
TO APPEARappear, appears, appeared

Predicate adjective examples using the verbs TO BE (is, am, are, was, were)

  • Ashish is polite to everyone.
  • Your friends are supportive.
  • I am scared of dogs.
  • Our head teacher was rude to everyone in the class.
  • Most people were afraid to lose their jobs in the lockdown.

Predicate adjective examples using the verbs TO BE + BEING

  • You are being extremely rude to us.
  • I am not being reasonable about the prices.
  • Why is she being diplomatic?
  • Last night, your girlfriend was being flirty with me.
  • Your friends were being sarcastic at the party.

Predicate adjective examples using the modal verbs (modals + be)

  • The doctors may be wrong about your condition. Let’s not lose hope.
  • We should be very careful with how to approach this situation.
  • Your mother might be upset with you.
  • The new book that he launched last month should be less expensive.
  • The match can be exciting.
  • Let’s get some food. The flight could be late.
  • I’ll meet her, but she must not be taller than you.
  • She will be late to work today. Don’t wait for you.
  • The boss would be upset with you if you didn’t complete it in time.

Predicate adjective examples using the modal verbs (modals + have + been)

  • Jon might have been high when he stole his house.
  • The food would have been tasty if I had cooked it.
  • We could have been more reasonable about the deal.
  • She is not going to talk to you again. You should have been respectful toward her.
  • I may have been busy at that time.

Predicate adjective examples using other linking verbs

  • You seem unhappy with your job.
  • She seemed drunk at the party.
  • Ross and Monica look beautiful together.
  • You looked confident in the meeting.
  • This cake tastes heavenly.
  • The food at the party last night tasted awful.
  • She always smells nice.
  • Your parents appear mad at me.
  • When Tony was called for his speech, he appeared lost.
  • Most people stayed motivated through the pandemic.
  • I felt terrible about his loss.
  • After you left the party, Jim went crazy and started dancing with the waitress.
  • She goes mad if someone touches her bag.
  • The students got very emotional thinking of leaving the school.
  • He turned red after hitting the pads.

Predicate adjective and predicate nominative

Both predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives come right after a linking verb. The key to identifying them is to look at what’s coming after the linking verb.

If what comes after a linking verb is an adjective or an adjective phrase, it’s a predicate adjective, and if it’s a noun, a noun phrase, or a noun clause, it’s a predicate nominative.


  • We will be elated if she comes back to our team. (Adjective phrase)
  • We will be the winner if she comes back to our team. (Noun phrase)
  • The reason for closing the office is stupid. (Adjective)
  • The reason for closing the office is that we didn’t have enough money. (Noun clause)

Compound predicate adjective

A compound predicate adjective is a combination of two or more adjectives or adjective phrases. Here are some examples of compound predicate adjectives:

  • She is smart and good-looking.
  • That guy looked skillful, calculated, and reasonable in his approach.

Don’t use an adverb after a linking verb!

Don’t make the mistake of using an adverb after a linking verb.

  • It tasted strongly. ❌
  • It tasted strong. ✔️
  • You smell nicely. ❌
  • You smell nice. ✔️

NOTE: adverbs are not used right after linking verbs, but, sometimes, they can be used before linking verbs.

  • You always look pretty.
  • Jon never goes mad.


What is a predicate adjective?

A predicate adjective is a word that comes after a linking verb and modifies the subject of the sentence. Ex – Jon is talented. Ex – You were amazing last night.

What is an example of a predicate adjective?

An adjective that comes right after a linking verb and modifies the subject is called a predicate adjective. Examples of a predicate adjective:
1. The movie was boring.
2. Your father is sweet.
3. This is amazing.
4. You sound strange today.
5. The project does not look complete to me.

What is a predicate adjective for kids?

A predicate adjective is a word that comes after a linking verb and gives information about the subject. Ex – My doll is cute. 2. This house is beautiful.

What is the formula of predicate adjective?

A sentence that has a predicate adjective has the following structure: subject + linking verb + adjective (predicate adjective). Ex – This guy is great.

What is an example of predicate nominative and predicate adjective?

1. Tim is smart. (predicate adjective)
2. Time is a teacher. (predicate nominative)

Can a participle be a predicate adjective?

Yes, both a present participle and a past participle can function as a predicate adjective. 1. We are motivated. (past participle as a predicate adjective)
2. His story is motivating. (present participle as a predicate adjective)

Now, we know what a predicate adjective is and everything about it. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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