עִבְרִית

Chapter 5

Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun.

A student wrote a letter.
n n
A tall student wrote a letter.
adj n n
A student wrote a long letter.
n adj n

In an English sentence, the subject (s) or the object (o) is usually a noun. An adjective can describe or modify both the subject and the object.

A tall student wrote a long letter.
adj n adj n

1. Position of adjectives

good book טוֹב סֵפֶר
adj n adj n

In English, the adjective comes before the noun it modifies (describes). In Hebrew, the adjective follows the noun it modifies.

2. Agreement of adjectives and nouns

m.s. טוֹב תַּלְמִיד
f.s. טוֹבָה תַּלְמִידָה
m.pl. טוֹבִים תַּלְמִידִים
f.pl. טוֹבוֹת תַּלְמִידוֹת

3. Adjectives with indefinite and definite articles

a large house בַּיִת גָּדוֹל
the large house הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל

If the noun is definite (has a ה before it), the adjective that modifies it must also be definite. It must also have a ה before it.

Summary of adjectives

1. In Hebrew, adjectives always follow the noun they modify.

מוֹרֶה טוֹב

יַלְדָּה יָפָה

2. Adjectives must agree with the noun in number and gender.

יֶלֶד חָדָשׁ

כִּתָּה טוֹבָה

תַּלְמִידִים חֲכָמִים

מנוֹרוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת

3. If the noun is indefinite, the adjective must also be indefinite.

בֵּן קָטָן

תְּפִלָּה יָפָה

If the noun is definite, the adjective must also be definite.

הַבֵּן הַקָּטָן

הַתְּפִלָּה הַיּפָה

Adjectives in Noun Sentences

The house (is) big. הַבַּיִת גָּדוֹל
the big house... הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל

אֹכֶל

הַבַּיִת גּדוֹל is a complete noun sentence.

הַבּיִת הַגּדוֹל is not a complete sentence. It is a phrase: a noun and its adjective modifier.

The ה in front of the adjective ( הַגּדוֹל) is our clue that we are reading an incomplete sentence -- a noun and the adjective that agrees with it.

עִבְרִית