Adjectives usually provide relevant information about the nouns/pronouns they modify/describe by answering the questions: What kind? How many? Which one? How much? Adjectives enrich your writing by adding precision and originality to it.
- The team has a dangerous batsman. (What kind?)
- I have ten candies in my pocket. (How many?)
- I loved that red car. (Which one?)
- I earn more money than he does. (How much?)
However, there are also many adjectives which do not fit into these questions. Adjectives are the most used parts of speech in sentences. There are several types of adjectives according to their uses.
Types of Adjectives
- Descriptive Adjectives
- Quantitative Adjectives
- Proper Adjectives
- Demonstrative Adjectives
- Possessive Adjectives
- Interrogative Adjectives
- Indefinite Adjectives
- Compound Adjectives
A descriptive adjective is a word which describes nouns and pronouns. Most of the adjectives belong in this type. These adjectives provide information and attribute to the nouns/pronouns they modify or describe. Descriptive adjectives are also called qualitative adjectives.
Participles are also included in this type of adjective when they modify a noun.
- I have a fast car. (The word ‘fast’ is describing an attribute of the car)
- I am hungry. (The word ‘hungry’ is providing information about the subject)
- The hungry cats are crying.
- I saw a flying Eagle.
A quantitative adjective provides information about the quantity of the nouns/pronouns. This type belongs to the question category of ‘how much’ and ‘how many’.
- I have 20 bucks in my wallet. (How much)
- They have three children. (How many)
- You should have completed the whole task. (How much)
Proper adjectives are the adjective form of proper nouns. When proper nouns modify or describe other nouns/pronouns, they become proper adjectives. ‘Proper’ means ‘specific’ rather than ‘formal’ or ‘polite.’
A proper adjective allows us to summarize a concept in just one word. Instead of writing/saying ‘a food cooked in Chinese recipe’ you can write/say ‘Chinese food’.
Proper adjectives are usually capitalized as proper nouns are.
- American cars are very strong.
- Chinese people are hard workers.
- I love KFC burgers.
- Marxist philosophers despise capitalism.
A demonstrative adjective directly refers to something or someone. Demonstrative adjectives include the words: this, that, these, those.
A demonstrative pronoun works alone and does not precede a noun, but a demonstrative adjective always comes before the word it modifies.
- That building is so gorgeously decorated. (‘That’ refers to a singular noun far from the speaker)
- This car is mine. (‘This’ refers to a singular noun close to the speaker)
- These cats are cute. (‘These’ refers to a plural noun close to the speaker)
- Those flowers are heavenly. (‘Those’ refers to a plural noun far from the speaker)
A possessive adjective indicates possession or ownership. It suggests the belongingness of something to someone/something.
Some of the most used possessive adjectives are my, his, her, our, their, your.
All these adjectives always come before a noun. Unlike possessive pronouns, these words demand a noun after them.
- My car is parked outside.
- His cat is very cute.
- Our job is almost done.
- Her books are interesting.
An interrogative adjective asks a question. An interrogative adjective must be followed by a noun or a pronoun. The interrogative adjectives are: which, what, whose. These words will not be considered as adjectives if a noun does not follow right after them. ‘Whose’ also belongs to the possessive adjective type.
- Which phone do you use?
- What game do you want to play?
- Whose car is this?
An indefinite adjective describes or modifies a noun unspecifically. They provide indefinite/unspecific information about the noun. The common indefinite adjectives are few, many, much, most, all, any, each, every, either, nobody, several, some, etc.
- I gave some candy to her.
- I want a few moments alone.
- Several writers wrote about the recent incidents.
- Each student will have to submit homework tomorrow.
Articles also modify the nouns. So, articles are also adjectives. Articles determine the specification of nouns. ‘A’ and ‘an’ are used to refer to an unspecific noun, and ‘the’ is used to refer to a specific noun.
- A cat is always afraid of water. (Here, the noun ‘cat’ refers to any cat, not specific.)
- The cat is afraid of me. (This cat is a specific cat.)
- An electronic product should always be handled with care.
When compound nouns/combined words modify other nouns, they become a compound adjective. This type of adjective usually combines more than one word into a single lexical unit and modifies a noun. They are often separated by a hyphen or joined together by a quotation mark.
- I have a broken-down sofa.
- I saw a six-foot-long snake.
- He gave me an “I’m gonna kill you now” look.
The Degree of Adjectives:
There are three degrees of adjectives: Positive, comparative, superlative.
These degrees are applicable only for the descriptive adjectives.
Positive degree: He is a good boy.
Comparative degree: He is better than any other boy.
Superlative: He is the best boy.