The Correct Use of some Adjectives

1. Later: Later is used to refer to passage of time.

e.g. -      Let’s have a party later in the week.       

I prefer going for shopping later in the evening.

Latter:  Latter is used to compare to the second of two persons or things mentioned at the same time. Opposite of former.

e.g. -.    Of the two job options at hand, I prefer the latter.

Of the two girls, the latter seems quieter.

Latest: Refers to the last mentioned thing or the newest thing in the block.

e.g. -      I would love to catch up with the latest series of CAR movies.

What’s the latest model of i-phone available in the market?

2. Elder: Used only to refer to persons in a comparative manner to denote seniority in age and especially to denote relations within a family. It also denotes reverence unlike ‘older’.  It is never used with the word ‘than’

e.g. - She is my elder sister.

The elder Statesman stood up to a round of applause in the Senate.

OlderRefers to comparative advanced chronological age in a more general manner .They are used for both persons and things.

e.g. - The Banyan tree is older than the building itself.

EldestUsed only to refer to persons in a Superlative manner to denote seniority in age and especially to denote relations within a family. It also reflect a certain amount of regard.

e.g. - She is the eldest sister.

The eldest member in the village was given responsibility to pass judgement on the case.

Oldest: Refers to superlative form of advanced chronological age in a more general manner. They, too refer to both persons and things.

e.g. - The Bodhi tree is the oldest living tree we know of.

3. FartherUsed to denote the extent to which one thing is distant in termsof space from another .Comparative form of far, used in terms of distance.

e.g. - My house is farther down the road.

Uranus is farther away from the sun than Earth.

FurtherUsed to denote the extent to which one thing is distant in termsof time from another .Comparative form of far used in terms of time.

e.g.- We decided to prolong our stay for two further weeks.

The first team has gone further in its research findings.

4. NearestSuperlative form of the word ‘near’. Denotes the closest in terms of distance usually.

e.g.: Where is the nearest supermarket?

Who is sitting next to the emergency exit?

Next: Means the first person or thing after the one just mentioned or understood.

e.g.:       When is the next show?

I have a class next Wednesday.

5. SomeUsed for both countable and uncountable nouns. Some is used with positive connotation to denote an uncertain but reasonable amount.

e.g. - There was some snow in the mountains last year.

Some people in my complex liked the movie.

Any: Used for both countable and uncountable nouns to denote either a negative connotation or an interrogative question.

e.g. –     Is there any milk left in the container?

I don’t have any friend left.

6. EachDistributive adjectives used to specify individual members in a group where individuals are more important than the group as a whole.

e.g. - Each student is expected to abide by the rules.

Each victim shall receive due compensation.

Every:Every’ refers to all the members in a group where the group holds more prominence than individual members.

e.g.: Every studentmust get his diary to School tomorrow.

Everyone was delighted when the weather finally cleared up.

Either: Refers to one of the two or more choices in a group.

Either of the friends could go and collect the ball.

Either of the books will suffice.

Neither: Refers to not one or the other of two options.

 Neither of the two movies, appeal to my sensibilities.

Neither of us was ready to invest any further in this relationship.

7.  Much: A quantifier used with singular uncountable noun. Normally used in questions and negative sentences.

E.g.: I do not have much money.

How much progress has been made on the developmental front?

Many: A quantifier used with plural countable nouns.Used for questions, negative and at times positive sentences too to denote countable nouns.

e.g.: How many oranges are there in the basket?

Sue has many friends in the school.


8.   LittleUsed with uncountable nouns having negative connotation, meaning not enough.

For e.g.: I have little money. (Hardly any)

                Little did I realize I was being duped.

A littleUsed with uncountable nouns meaning though little in quantity but enough.

For e.g.: Give me a little milk. (Little in quantity but still enough)

                I still have a little hope left.

                Little kindness goes a long way.

The little: Used with uncountable noun meaning might not be enough but all that there is .It also refers to a specific little quantity. The amount might be small but nevertheless it is significant.

For e.g.: He drank off the little milk we had (not much but all that there was)

The little girl walked out into the rain. (Specific little girl)

The little thing you do make a lot of difference. (Small but significant)


9.  FewFew is used with countable nouns having negative connotation, meaning not enough.

For e.g.: Few members attended the quorum. (Not enough)

              Few measures were taken to check rampant corruption. (Hardly any)

A few:  A fewis also used with countable nouns, meaning some. It has positive association.

For e.g.: A few changes can tweak the company’s fortune. (Less in number but significant)

A few friends is all that’s needed to keep you happy.

The few: The few used with countable nouns means though less in number, it is all that there is.

For e.g.: He lost the few friends he had. (Not many but all that he had) 

10. Less: Less is the comparative form of little, used to denote small quantities/amount in terms of countable nouns only.

For e.g.:      I do less work when I am relaxed.

                   X has been drinking less water, leading to dehydration.

Fewer:  Fewer is the comparative form of few, used to denote small quantities/degree/amount in terms of countable nouns.

For e.g.: Stringent traffic laws would mean fewer accidents on the roads.

           Y makes fewer grammatical mistakes than others in his English essays.

English Grammar and Composition

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