Definition of Adjective

Adjective can be defined as “Adjective is a word naming an attribute of a noun or pronoun, such as sweet, red, or technical.”

What is Adjective and its Functions

Adjectives are words which modify, identify or quantify nouns or pronouns. It is a parts of speech and provides more information about noun or pronoun in order to make a clear view of noun or pronoun in the reader's mind and create feeling about what writer has written.

Adjective words are describing words such as black, handsome, fair, beautiful, bold, pretty, fierce, many, few, majestic, small, tall, blue, much, more, green, cute, red, smart, etc. Adjective words cannot stand on their own however used to describe nouns or pronouns or modify them. It provides specialty to the noun or pronoun. Number of rules govern the use of various types of adjectives in the sentence. It is very necessary to understand all the rules to be able to use adjectives to get advantage.

For example:

  • There is a tall man. (in this example, 'tall' is an adjective because it describes man.)
  • He was eating healthy food. (here ‘healthy’ is an adjective as it is describing food.)
  • There are six persons in the house. (here ‘six’ is an adjective as it is telling the number of noun in the house.)

Types of Adjective

Adjectives are of different types based upon its effect on the noun or pronoun. Various types of adjective are described below with proper definition and examples.

1) Adjective of Quality or Descriptive Adjective

Adjective of quality is also known as descriptive adjective as it describes the nature and attribute of nouns or pronouns. They give quite better idea to understand the characteristics of noun or pronoun by answering the question. Descriptive adjectives are like honest, kind, large, bulky, thin, fat, beautiful, smart, ugly, etc.

For Example:

  • New Delhi is a large capital city of India having very old historical monuments.
  • Neha is a thin and beautiful.

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2) Adjective of Quantity

Adjective of quantity shows the approximate amount of a noun or pronoun however do not provide exact numbers. It tells the amount of noun or pronoun in relative or whole terms. Such as; few, little, enough, all, many, half, no, great, etc.

For Example:

  • I have seen few people eating rice.
  • Many people come every year to visit the fair.

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3) Adjective of Number or Numeral Adjective

Adjective of number is also known as numeral adjective. It indicates the number of nouns and their place in the sentence. Numeral adjective is categorized into three different sections which are described below:

Definite Numeral Adjective

Definite numeral adjectives are those adjectives which clearly show the exact number of nouns or its order.

For example:

One, two, three, four, twenty, thirty three, etc are known as cardinals.

First, second, third, fourth, seventh, tenth, etc are known as ordinals.

  • I saw two people playing football.
  • It was tenth football match in the city.

Indefinite Numeral Adjective

Indefinite numeral adjectives are those adjectives which do not show the exact numerical amount of noun however give general idea of that amount.

For example:

Many, some, any, few, all, several, etc.

  • I saw only few people present at the meeting.

Distributive Numeral Adjective

Distributive numeral adjectives are those adjectives which followed by a singular noun and a singular verb. However, sometimes there is use of a plural noun and a singular verb by using each of, either of, every one of, and neither of.

For example:

Either, each, neither, every, another, other, etc.

  • Each leg has four fingers and one toe.
  • Every child need care and love.
  • Either method is wrong.
  • Neither method is correct.
  • Either of the methods is wrong.
  • Neither of the methods is correct.

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4) Demonstrative Adjective

Demonstrative adjectives are those adjectives which indicate a particular noun or pronoun uses adjectives like this, these, that, and those.

For example:

  • That is my bag.
  • I like this food very much.
  • I really like playing with these
  • Those flowers are looking very beautiful.

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5) Interrogative Adjective

Interrogative adjectives are those adjectives which are used to ask questions and accompany nouns. It is placed before noun in the sentence. Interrogative adjectives are like where, which, what, and whose.

For example:

  • Where did I said I was going?
  • What assignment did you missed out?
  • Which is your favorite game?
  • Whose lunch box is this?

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6) Coordinate Adjective

Coordinate adjectives are those adjectives which appear in the sequence in order to modify the same noun. Such type of adjectives are separated by the use of commas or and (always comes before final adjective). They can be rearranged in a series.

For example:

dull, nice, rainy day, dark and stormy night

  • He was a very kind, smart, loving human being.
  • He was a loving, smart and generous human being.

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7) Non-Coordinate Adjective

Non-coordinate adjectives are those adjectives which do not make any sense after inserting commas or and in between. Non-coordinate adjectives do not use commas or and to get separated and cannot be rearranged in a series.

For example:

  • I have three healthy active children. (this sentence makes a sense and is grammatically correct)
  • I have active three healthy children. (this sentence does not make sense and is grammatically incorrect)
  • I have active and healthy and three children. (this sentence does not make sense and is grammatically incorrect)

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8) Possessive Adjective

Possessive adjectives are those adjectives which we use to point out the noun belongs to someone. Possessive adjectives are like My, our, your, her, his, their, and its.

For example:

  • This is our school.
  • It is her.
  • Your dog is very kind.

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Rules of Ordering Adjectives

Learning all the rules of ordering adjectives make us able to order adjectives in a meaningful sequence. Learning rules of ordering adjectives are very important in order to use number of different adjectives while making sentence. It makes us able to understand which adjective should be placed first in the sentence and which one last. Generally, we can make sentence by putting only one adjective into the sentence however in order to know further details about the noun and pronoun, we can place more than one adjectives into the sentence in proper order by using rules of ordering adjectives. Here are the rules of ordering the adjectives:

Determiners

We should first place the adjectives like article, possessive, demonstrative, numerical, quantifier, or distributive adjectives into the sentence. An example is given below using a numerical adjective first:

  • I have two good. (a sentence making sense and grammatically correct.)

If we rewrite the above example by putting the quality adjective first to the quantity adjective, the we see that:

  • I have good two. (a sentence making no sense and grammatically incorrect.)

Quantity, Number, and Opinion

The use of numerical adjective should follow after and not before while using adjectives like article, possessive, demonstrative, quantifier, or distributive adjectives in the sentence. However, in case, if we put numerical adjective as first adjective, we can follow it with opinion or quality adjective.

For example:

  • I have two good friends. (In this sentence, good is quality or opinion adjective which follows after the numerical adjective.)

Size

All the above sequential adjectives like numerical, article, quality or opinion adjectives are followed by another adjective describing the size of noun.

For example:

  • I have two good little birds. (little is the adjective describing the size of noun.)

Age

All the above adjectives are followed by the adjective describing age of the noun. In the above example, we can see that the word “little” provides some information about kid’s age however, not very clear. So, it needs a separate sentence to describe the age of noun.

For example:

  • I have two good little toddlers.

Or,

  • I have two good little kids. They are four and six.

Or,

  • I have two good little school-age children.

We can show the age of noun in the sentence in many ways such as, by changing the noun (like toddlers or school-age) in order to reflect age or showing the age in separate sentence. However, only changing the noun does not make clear sense of age and creates confusion to the reader. So, it is good to add second sentence to identify the age of noun.

Shape

In order to describe the shape of the noun, we can use variety of object shapes such as circle, square, triangle, rectangle, etc. If your noun is a person, you would describe their appearance. For this example, let’s change the example so we can actually use a shape:

For example:

  • I have two soft big new circular mats. (this sentence is quite long, so we can add some attributes of noun in separate sentence.)

Color

We can add color adjective to the sentence after shape adjective.

For example:

  • I have two soft big new circular red mats. (this sentence is quite long, so we can write creatively and add some attributes of noun in separate sentence.)

Such as:

  • I have two soft big balls. Both are new, circular and red in color.

Origin

In order to describe the origin of the item, we need to locate the place where the item is purchased or manufactured by the use of adjectives.

For example:

  • I have two soft big new circular red Indian mats. (this sentence describe the heritage and manufacturing place of the item.)
  • I have two soft big new circular red balls from the North. (this sentence is quite unclear, just showing the place of purchase.)

Material

In order to provide detail of the item, we need to describe about the material of the item it is made of such as rubber, wood, plastic, etc. Whereas, we need to describe behavior if we talk about a person.

For example:

  • I have two soft little rubber.
  • I have two kind small energetic puppy.

Grammatical Modifier

Sometimes, nouns or other forms of speech are used to modify nouns by using special kind of adjectives called as grammatical modifiers. Grammatical modifiers are added in last to a sentence.

For example:

  • He has a small brown wooden dog house. (In this sentence, dog is a grammatical modifier as it modifies the noun house. Grammatical modifier here makes clear that the house is for dog, not for human.)

Degrees of Adjectives

Degrees of adjectives or levels of adjectives or degrees of comparison are of three types namely, positive, comparative, and superlative. All the degrees of adjectives are described below with proper examples.

Positive Degree

Positive degree of adjectives are used when we talk about the single person, place, or thing.

For example:

  • He is a smart boy.
  • It is a nice pen.

Comparative Degree

Comparative degree of adjectives are used when we compare two persons, places, or things. We can add “er” to the simple word to transform it to the comparative form or we can use the word “more” or “than” after the adjective.

For example:

  • This swimming pool is smaller than the last one.
  • You are more intelligent than your brother.

In order to transform the word ending with letter 'y', we need to replace 'y' with 'i' and then add “er” such as:

  • lovely-lovelier
  • happy-happier
  • pretty-prettier
  • tasty-tastier
  • lucky-luckier

Superlative Degree

Superlative degree of adjectives are used when we compare more than two things. The word “the” is added before the adjective. A common word is transformed to its superlative form by adding a suffix “est” or the word “most.”

For example:

  • I wear the clothes from biggest store.
  • This is the most important moment of my life.

In order to transform the word ending with letter 'y', we need to replace 'y' with 'i' and then add “est” such as:

  • lovely-loveliest
  • happy-happiest
  • pretty-prettiest
  • tasty-tastiest
  • lucky-luckiest