Adjectives are a writer’s best instrument to wield magic, to conjure images, to express emotions. They are the words that describe or modify Nouns or Pronouns, offering variety, spice and vividness to our sentence structures.
Mostly used to identify or qualify individual people and unique things, they are mostly positioned before a noun or pronoun, which it describes.
Adjectives are an integral part of our Parts of Speech. Consider the use of adjectives in the oft-repeated phrase, consuming all letters of English alphabets:
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,
The types of adjectives that we are dealing with today falls under the following categories:
1. Descriptive Adjectives: Used to describe nouns and pronouns.They add to the quality and provide added information about the word they are modifying.
Example: beautiful, lazy, nice, cruel etc.
Usage: The dog is ferocious
The ferocious dog jumped over the hedge.
The flowers have a nice smell.
2. Quantitative Adjectives: Describe how much or how many.
Example: Numbers like One, Two, Three etc.
General Quantifiers: many, half, a lot, whole
Usage: I only have one son.
I loved finishing the whole cake.
3. Demonstrative Adjectives: They point out to which Noun or Pronoun we are referring to, in a sentence.
Examples:This, that, these, those
Usage: That piano used to be mine until I sold it.
Please put these biscuits on a plate.
4. Possessive Adjectives: They show possession or to whom a thing belongs to.
Example: My, our, his, her, their, its
Usage: Whose book is this? Its mine.
5. Interrogative Adjectives: Are used to ask questions and make enquirers.
Examples: Which, what, whose (They are only considered as adjective if immediately followed by the Noun)
Usage: Which colors is your favorite?
What book are you referring to?
Whose house is the party going to be held?
6. Distributive Adjectives: describe specific members out of a group.These are used to point out one or more individual items or people.
Examples: Each(used for individual members in a group), every(Used for generalization within a group), either (One of the choices between two), neither(None of the choices between two), any(No specific preference and the choice becomes irrelevant)
Usage: Every dog has his day. (Generalization)
7. Articles: There are only there articles in the English language a, an, the and technically they have a separate entity in the Parts of Speech in English Grammar but they also serve as Adjectives.
While ‘a’ or ‘an’ is known as indefinite article , commonly used before a consonant or vowel sound respectively , ‘the’ is the definite article.
Usage: An egg a day keeps the body strong.
The egg is rotten.
8. In definitive Adjective: Used to describe non-specific things.
Examples: any, many, no, several and few
Usage: Several bananas are rotten.
Few bananas are edible.
No bananas are left.
9. Co-ordinate Adjectives: Are those that are separated with commas or the word ‘and’ and are used in a series to modify the noun. However, in some cases they may be co-ordinates not separated by commas structurally.
Usage: The night was dark, lonely and exotic.
The green delivery van rushed through the traffic.
10. Attributive Adjectives: Talk about specific attributes, qualities or features.