Adjectives are Noun Modifiers, as they generally describe some aspect of nouns.

    • beautiful
    • good
    • happy
    • cool
    • distant

Kinds of Adjectives

Adjectives of Quality

They describe the quality of the nouns to which they relate. Hence they may also be called Descriptive Adjectives.

    • cruel man
    • clever boy
    • heavy box
    • narrow road

Proper Adjectives

These are derived from Proper Nouns.

    • the French language
    • Herculean task
    • Victorian building

Participal Adjectives

These have the form of the -ing participle or the -ed/-en participle of Verbs.

    • deserted street
    • setting sun
    • burning issue
    • forsaken child
    • fallen leaves

Possessive Adjectives

These are the possessive case forms of Personal Pronouns.

    • my pen
    • our duty
    • your responsibility
    • its tail
    • his fame

Demonstrative Adjectives

These include Definite Demonstratives and Indefinite Demonstratives.

Definite Demonstratives

    • this
    • that
    • such
    • same
    • these
    • those

Indefinite Demonstratives

    • some
    • any
    • a certain

Adjectives of Quantity

They describe the number/ quantity of a noun. They answer the questions, how much or how many?

    • much
    • little
    • enough
    • half
    • whole

Numeral Adjectives

These adjectives tell us how many or how much or in what order the noun is in. These include Definite, Indefinite and Distributive Numerals.

Definite Numerals tell us the exact number of people or things

    • one
    • two
    • first
    • second

Indefinite Numerals only give a tentative numeral idea of nouns.

    • few
    • all
    • several
    • many

Distributive Numerals are the same as Distributive Adjectives. They denote a singular number of noun among many.

    • each
    • every
    • either
    • neither

Distributive Adjectives

They refer to each one of a group of two or more persons or things.

    • each
    • every
    • either
    • neither

The same word can be used as a quantitative adjective or a numeral adjective based on whether the object following the adjective is countable or not.

Interrogative Adjectives

These are adjectives used to suggest a selection from a given number or quantity.

    • which
    • whose
    • how
    • what

Exclamatory Adjectives

A word used to show strong emotion is an Exclamatory Adjective.

    • what nonsense!
    • what a good idea!
    • how strange!

Epithet Adjectives

These are nouns functioning as adjectives.

    • lady doctor
    • blood bank
    • radio station
    • biscuit company

Compound Participial Adjectives

They are formed when two or more adjectives are joined together to modify the same noun.

    • ill-mannered
    • old-fashioned
    • good-hearted
    • time-bound

Position of Adjectives

When a number of adjectives are used to modify a noun, they generally follow this order: number or quantity; quality; size or weight; colour.

    • long, thick, dark hair
    • two, strong, heavy, black boxes
    • three, nice, long, blue ribbons
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Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature for 14 years now. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges coming under this directorate and is now posted at the Department of English, H.H. The Maharaja’s Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of the lecture notes that she prepared by referring various sources, for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.

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