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The Adjectives—Part-I

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What is an Adjective?

An Adjective is a describing word. It describes either a Noun or a Pronoun.

Have a look at the following sentences:

1. Ramesh is an intelligent boy. (Boy of what type?)
2. I don’t know that man. (Which man?)
3. There was a little water in the bucket. (How much water?)
4. My mother gave me two apples (How many apples?)
5. The poor man was honest. (How was the poor man?)

If we ask the questions given in the bracket against each sentence, we will get the answers as ‘intelligent’, ‘that’, ‘a little’, ‘two’ and ‘honest’ respectively. They are Adjectives.

Therefore, we can define an Adjective as a word which is used to describe or add something to a noun (person, place, animal or thing) or a Pronoun.

(i) An Adjective is generally placed before a noun.
(i) Some Adjectives are used along with the nouns (as in sentences 1 to 4) as an attribute (characteristic). Such Adjectives are said to be used attributively.
(iii) Some Adjectives are used along with the verbs (as in sentence No.5) and forms part of the predicate. Such Adjectives are said to be used predicatively.

Kinds of Adjectives

There are seven kinds Adjectives. They are as follows:

1. Adjectives of Quality (Descriptive Adjectives)
2. Adjectives of Quantity
3. Adjectives of Number (Numeral Adjectives)
4. Demonstrative Adjectives
5. Distributive Adjectives
6. Possessive Adjectives
7. Interrogative Adjectives

Now let us discuss them one by one:
1. Adjective of Quality (Descriptive Adjectives)

An Adjective of Quality describes the kind or quality of a person or thing, we are talking about. It is also called a descriptive adjective.


1. The Ganga is the holiest river of India.
2. The Honest woodcutter refused to take the golden axe.
3. The naughty boy was punished.
4. The mango is sweet.
5. A big crowd assembled to hear the leader.

Remember: Adjectives of Quality answer the question: of what type/kind of?

2. Adjectives of Quantity

An Adjective of Quantity tells us how much of a thing is intended:

1. My father gave me some money.
2. She has no child.
3. I have some information for you.
4. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
5. The question was much difficult.

Adjectives in the above sentences do not indicate the quantity in definite term; rather they answer the question, ‘How much’?

Remember: An Adjective of Quantity answers the question: How much?

3. Adjectives of Numbers (Numeral Adjectives)

Adjectives of Numbers show how many persons or things are meant or
the order in which a person or thing stands.


1. Manish stood first in the class.
2. I have read a few poems of Shelly.
3. I ate two apples.
4. There are some good books in the library.
5. Many passengers were killed in the accident.

Remember: An Adjective of Number answers the question: How many?

Note: Depending upon its use, a word can be either an adjective of quantity or an adjective of number.

Look at the following examples:

1. Give me some water to drink. (adjective of quantity)
2. Some students are making a noise in the class. (adjective of number)

Note: Adjectives of Number can be divided into the following two groups:

A. Definite Numeral Adjectives: The Adjectives that denote exact number are called Definite Numeral Adjectives. They can be further sub-divided into two types:

(i) Cardinals: One, Two, Three etc.
(ii) Ordinals: First, Second, Third etc.

Remember: Cardinals answer the question: How many, while Ordinals show the order of things, or how they stand in a series.

B. Indefinite Numeral Adjectives: The Adjectives that don’t denote exact number are called Indefinite Numeral Adjectives.
Examples: few, a few, some, many, little, a little all, etc.

4. Demonstrative Adjective

A Demonstrative Adjective points out a particular person or thing


1 These pens are useless.
2 That boy is clever.
3 This is not the way to talk to your teachers.
4 They are living in Delhi these days.
5 Those books are mine.

Remember: - Demonstrative Adjectives answer the question: ‘Which’?

Note: - ‘This’ and ‘That’ are the only adjectives for which separate forms are used according to the number of the noun (Singular or Plural)

Study the following sentences:

This is my umbrella. (Singular)
These are my books. (Plural)
That boy is arrogant. (Singular)
Those boys are intelligent (Plural)

Remember: - This and These points out the objects nearer to us while that and those indicate the objects further from us.

5. Distributive Adjectives

Distributive Adjectives refer each one of a number.

Examples: 1. Every candidate will be called for interview.
2. There are green fields on either side of the road.
3. Each boy is intelligent.

Note: - Distributive Adjectives are also called Distributive Numeral Adjectives.

6. Possessive Adjectives

The words my, our, your, his, her, its and their when used with noun to show the possession of something, are called Possessive Adjectives.


1. Your bag is on the table.
2. Their house is situated near the temple.
3. My scooter is in the garage.
4. Our car is new.
5. His mother is in the office.

(i) A Possessive Adjective shows possession.
(ii) The above words are Possessive pronouns also.

7. Interrogative Adjectives

In some sentences, words of interrogation like ‘What’, ‘Which’ and ‘Whose’ are used with nouns to ask questions. Such adjectives are called Interrogative Adjectives.


What games will you play today?
Which shirt is white?
Whose son was Rama?

Remember: We use ‘What’ in a general sense, while ‘Which’ is used in a selective sense.

Ps: In the second part of this topic we will discuss about ‘Degrees of Adjectives’.

Sample Usage

As given against each topic

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