What Are Adjectives

Read the following sentences.

Tokyo is a big city.
She is a beautiful girl.
We need some rice.
This boy studies in my school.
It was a wonderful experience.

You will probably have noticed that the words in bold type are used to describe nouns. These are adjectives. An adjective is a word used to say something about a noun.

Kinds of adjectives

There are different kinds of adjectives:

1) Adjectives of quality
2) Adjectives of quantity
3) Adjectives of number
4) Distributive adjectives
5) Demonstrative adjectives
6) Interrogative adjectives
7) Possessive adjectives

Adjectives of Quality

Adjectives of quality describe the kind, quality or characteristic of a person, animal, place or thing.

He is a clever boy.
She is a brilliant student.
He is an honest man.
The fish tasted awful.
The night grew dark.
The milk turned sour.
I met an old beggar.
The young woman had attractive looks.

Adjectives formed from proper nouns are also called adjectives of quality. Examples are: Persian carpets, Indian flag, British parliament etc.

Adjectives of Quantity

Adjectives of quantity describe how much of a thing is meant. Examples are: some, any, little, enough, all, much etc.

We need some rice.
He drank all the milk.
Is there any milk in the bottle?

Adjectives of Number

Adjectives of number indicate how many persons or things are meant. Examples are: few, many, several, two, five, second, fifth etc.

Two girls came.
She is the first woman to climb Mt. Everest.
He has written many books.

Distributive Adjectives

Each, every, either and neither are called distributive adjectives.

She had a child hanging onto each hand.
I have invited every friend I have.

Demonstrative adjectives

This, that, these and those are called demonstrative adjectives.

Bring me that chair.
Who is this girl?
Those mangoes are all ripe.

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are used with nouns to ask questions. Examples are: which, what, whose etc.

Which shirt shall I buy?
Whose son is he?

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives indicate possession. Examples are: my, his, her, our, their, your and its.

He is my father.
She is our teacher.
Is this your bag?

Adjectives Exercise

A list of words is given below. Find out which among them are adjectives.

Clever, hot, cried, pleasant, brightly, efficiently, attractive, often, honesty, brilliance, efficiency, stopped, acted, smooth, quality, brave


Clever, hot, pleasant, attractive, smooth, brave

Formation of Adjectives

From nouns

Adjectives can be formed from nouns. For example, the adjective foolish is formed from the noun fool. Similarly the adjective courageous is formed from the noun courage.

More examples are given below.

Boy (noun): boyish (adjective)
Care: careful
Hope: hopeful
Shame: shameless
Sense: senseless
Silk: silken
Dirt: dirty
Gold: golden
Glory: glorious
Man: manly
King: kingly

Some adjectives are formed from verbs.

Talk (verb): talkative (adjective)
Move (verb): movable (adjective)

Adjectives can also be formed from other adjectives.

Black (adjective): blackish (adjective)
White (adjective): whitish (adjective)
Sick (adjective): sickly (adjective)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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