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English Grammar - Adjectives

Adjectives

A word used with a noun to describe or point out, the person, animal, place or thing which the noun names, or to tell the number or quantity/amount, is called an adjective.

So we may define an adjective as a word used with a noun to add something for its meaning.

(Adjective means added to.)

Examples:

Jane is a clever girl.
Clever is an adjective and it describes Jane.

I don’t like that boy.
That is an adjective and it points out which boy is meant.

He gave me five mangoes.
Five is an adjective and it shows the number of mangoes given.

There is little time for preparation.
Little is an adjective and it shows the amount of time there is for preparation.

An adjective can be used either attributively or predicatively. Look at the following sentence:

The lazy boy was punished.
In this sentence, the adjective lazy is used along with the noun boy as an attribute. It is, therefore, said to be used attributively.

Look at the following sentence.

The boy is lazy.
In this sentence, the adjective lazy is used along with the verb is, and forms part of the predicate. It is, therefore, said to be used predicatively.

Kinds of adjectives

Adjectives may be divided into the following classes:

1. Adjectives of quality (descriptive adjectives)

This type of adjectives how the kind or quality of a person or thing.

Examples:
John is an honest man.
The foolish cow tried to sing.

2. Adjectives of quantity

This type of adjectives who how much of a thing is meant. Adjectives of quantity answer the question ‘how much’.

Examples:
I ate some rice.
He has lost all his wealth.

3. Adjectives of number (numeral adjectives)

This type of adjectives show how many persons or things are meant, or in what order a person or thing stands. Adjectives of number answer the question ‘how many?’

Examples:
There are no pictures in this book.
Most boys like football.

Adjectives of number can be of three types:

3 a) Definite numeral adjectives which denote an exact number

Example:
One, two, three etc.
These are called cardinals.
First, second, third, etc.
These are called ordinals.

(A cardinal denotes how many, and an ordinal denotes the order of things in a series.)

3 b) Indefinite numeral adjectives which do not denote an exact number

Examples:
All, no, many, few, some, any, certain, several, sundry.

3 c) Distributive numeral adjectives which refer to each one of a number

Examples:
Each boy must take his turn.
Neither accusation is true.
Every word of it is false.

4. Demonstrative adjectives

This type of adjectives point out which person or thing is meant. Demonstrative adjectives answer the question ‘which?’

Examples:
This boy is stronger than John.
I hate such things.
These mangoes are sour.

5. Interrogative adjectives

This type of adjectives are used with nouns to ask questions. Interrogative adjectives are what, which and whose.

What manner of a man is he?
Which way shall we go?
Whose book is this?

6. Emphasizing adjectives

This type of adjectives are used for emphasis.

Examples:

He is his own master.
He was beaten at his own game.
I saw it with my own eyes.

7. The word ‘what’ is sometimes used as an exclamatory adjective.

Examples:
What an idea!
What a blessing!
What a piece of work is man!


Worksheet

Underline the adjectives in the following sentences, and write down to which type it belongs.

  • Carla won the second prize.
  • Mind your own business.
  • What folly!
  • On either side was a narrow lane.
  • That boy has got the prize.
  • There are several mistakes in your exercise.
  • He claimed his half share of the booty.
  • Paris is a very modern city.
  • He has lost all his wealth.
  • Which book is yours?

Answers

  • Carla won the second prize. (definite numeral adjective)
  • Mind your own business. (emphasizing adjective)
  • What folly! (exclamatory adjective)
  • On either side was a narrow lane. (distributive numeral adjective)
  • That boy has got the prize. (demonstrative adjective)
  • There are several mistakes in your exercise. (indefinite numeral adjective)
  • He claimed his half share of the booty. (adjective of quantity)
  • Paris is a very modern city. (adjective or quality or descriptive adjective)
  • He has lost all his wealth. (adjective or quantity)
  • Which book is yours? (interrogative adjective)

Formation of Adjectives Comparison of Adjectives


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