This lesson examines types of adjective and examples. Adjectives modify nouns and they usually come before a noun, though this it not always the case.
They answer questions such as: What kind? Which one? How many? How much? What's it like?
However, they don't all answer questions such as this as there are different types. So we'll now look at the various types of adjective with examples. In the examples, the noun will be in blue and the adjective in red.
There is some crossover with the categories above, with some adjectives that can be placed in more than one of the above types.
Descriptive adjectives (also called Qualitative Adjectives) can be seen as the broad category into which most adjectives fall. They are the type of adjective that most of us think of when we think of an 'adjective'.
They describe nouns and pronouns in terms of their specific traits, features and qualities. They commonly relate to the question 'what kind of....'.
They can be categorised into three types.
Attributive adjectives are those that appear directly beside the noun, usually before but also immediately after. They attribute a quality to the noun they modify. More than one adjective can modify the same noun.
More examples of attributive adjectives >>
Predicate Adjectives appear after a linking verb (check what linking verbs are in our types of verbs lesson). Examples of linking verbs are 'is', 'appear', 'seem'.
They modify the subject of the sentence or clause, which is the part of a sentence which contains a subject and a predicate.
If participles modify nouns, they are adjectives. Participles are words that usually end in -ed or -ing and derive from verbs. For example:
So two of the examples we looked at above derive from participles:
Here are some more examples:
Numeral adjectives tell us about how many, how much, or what order. This type of adjective can be categorised into three:
Definite numeral adjectives are used to show exact numbers. These types of adjective include:
Cardinal adjectives are used to answer the questions of ‘how much’ and ‘how many’. Ordinal adjectives describe the order of something. Multiplicative adjectives denote how many fold, as in single, double, triple, etc.
Here are some examples;
Indefinite numeral adjectives are used to answer questions such as 'how many' and 'how much' but in a non-specific way.
This is through words such as few, several, many, some, much, most, all.
Distributive adjectives are sometimes categorised under indefinite adjectives as they again are not always referring to nouns in a specific way. However, they are a sub-category as in this case they are used to refer to members of a group as individuals.
Distributive adjectives are: each, every, either, neither, any, one, both, none.
Demonstrative adjectives include the words: this, that, these, those. These types of adjective are used to point out which person or thing is being referred to.
Learn more about demonstrative adjectives and take a demonstrative adjectives quiz.
Possessive adjectives are used with nouns to talk about possession and ownership. They are: my, your, his, her, its, our, their.
Proper adjectives are the adjective form of proper nouns.
A proper noun begins with a capital letter and is the name of a particular person, place, organisation, or thing e.g. 'James', 'Paris', and the 'Labour Party'.
When proper nouns modify or describe other nouns/pronouns, they become proper adjectives.
The purpose of this type of adjective is to enable us to summarise a concept in just one word. So instead of ‘a food cooked in Mexico’ we can say ‘Mexican food’.
Interrogative adjectives are question words that modify nouns or noun phrases. They can't stand on their own (unlike interrogative pronouns) and so they are classed as adjectives.
They are: whose, which, and what.
This refers to three types of adjectives:
These types of adjective also fall under the umbrella of descriptive adjectives.
The term positive refers to the fact that these adjectives (unlike the two that follow - comparative and superlative) do not make comparisons between two or more nouns.
Comparative adjectives make comparison between two or more people or objects or are used to indicate change.
Superlative adjectives are used to point to a noun that has the most extreme quality or attributes amongst three (or more) other nouns.
Compound adjectives join more than one word into a single lexical unit, which then modifies a noun. They are usually (though not always) separated by a hyphen or joined by quotation marks.
Some of them begin with a number and end with a noun. The unit as a whole though is still classed as an adjective.
As articles are modifying nouns, they are a type of adjective. a and an are indefinite articles and the is definite.
The is used before a noun to show that the identity of the noun is known. A and an are used before a noun that is not known or a noun that is general.
Now test yourself in this Types of Adjective Exercise >>
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