Adjectives are describing words. They tell us about the colour, size, shape, nature, quality or condition of a noun. Examples are: blue, green, round, square, good, old, tall, brave, beautiful, tired, happy, exhausted etc.
An adjective usually describes a noun and denotes a temporary or permanent quality associated with that noun.
For example, an intelligent boy is a boy who is distinguished from other boys by being permanently intelligent. A square table is a table that is distinguished from other tables by being square in shape. A brave soldier is a soldier who is distinguished from other soldiers by being brave.
- We need round tables.
- Tokyo is a big city.
Adjectives can answer the question ‘What kind?’ (round tables; big city), ‘How much?’ (some rice, little effort) ‘Which one?’ (red shirt, second wife), and ‘How many?’ (two boys, ten books).
Kinds of adjectives
There are different kinds of adjectives.
Adjectives of quantity
An adjective of quantity answers the question how much. Examples are: some, little, much, enough, sufficient, insufficient, all, whole, great, any etc.
- I have bought some bacon.
- I haven’t got much money.
- We have got enough time.
- There is little water in the bottle.
Adjectives of number or numeral adjectives
They answer the question ‘how many?’ Numeral adjectives are of three kinds:
1. Definite numeral adjectives (e.g. one, two, three, first, second, third etc.)
2. Indefinite numeral adjectives (e.g. some, any, no, several, few, all etc.)
3.Distributive numeral adjectives (e.g. each, every, either, neither)
A possessive adjective modifies a noun by telling whom it belongs to. It answers the question “Whose?”
Examples are: his, her, its, my, our, their, and your.
- You can share my rice.
- Have you seen their house?
- This is his room.
- They are our friends.
The demonstrative adjectives that, these, this, those, and what answer the question “Which?”
- I’m going to open that present.
- Whose is this bag?
- These mangoes are very sweet.
A demonstrative adjective may look like a demonstrative pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence.
There are four distributive adjectives in English: each, every, either and neither. Distributive adjectives are used with singular nouns. The following verb is usually singular, but can be plural in a very formal style.
The interrogative adjectives are used with nouns to ask questions. Examples are what, which and whose.
- What movie do you want to see?
- Which leaves turn color first?
- Whose son is he?
An interrogative adjective may look like an interrogative pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence: it is an adjective, used to modify a noun or pronoun.
An indefinite adjective gives indefinite, or general, information. Often, it answers the question “How much?” Some common indefinite adjectives are all, any, each, every, few, many, and some.
- Many children like dinosaurs.
- Did you want some bananas?
- Is there any water in the bottle?
An indefinite adjective may look like an indefinite pronoun, but it is used differently in the sentence: it is an adjective, used to modify a noun or pronoun.