This article examines the role of gradable properties in referring expressions from the perspective of natural language generation. First, we propose a simple semantic analysis of vague descriptions (i.e., referring expressions that contain gradable adjectives) that reflects the context-dependent meaning of the adjectives in them. Second, we show how this type of analysis can inform algorithms for the generation of vague descriptions from numerical data. Third, we ask when such descriptions should be used. The article concludes with a discussion of salience and pointing, which are analyzed as if they were gradable adjectives.