Adjectives: Type of Adjectives, Degrees, Rules and Mistake to Avoid, Download PDF Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

English Grammar is very important to improve fluency in the English Language. If a person is well acquainted with the rules of grammar, it will be much easier for that person to know how to organize and express ideas without difficulty. As a result, they will be able to read, write and speak the language more accurately.
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 What are Adjectives?

Adjectives are the word which qualifies, describes or modifies nouns and pronouns by giving some information about the size, shape, age, color or material of some object. Adjectives are usually used before nouns and pronouns. Adjectives cannot be used alone but they make the sentence meaningful by telling something special about the noun and pronoun. Some examples of Adjectives are  Good, bitter, small, black, Fat, great, etc. To know which adjective should be used where there are some rules which need to be understood properly.

For example :

I ate dinner. 

I ate a delicious dinner. (Here Delicious word is adding more information to the word ‘Dinner’)

If in a sentence, there is more than one adjective to qualify/modify the same noun then we usually use a comma to separate those adjectives.  No commas are used to separate the last adjective in the series from the noun it is qualifying. We can use any number of adjectives to qualify a noun. But we cannot put another word between an adjective and the noun it is qualifying. 

Raman is a tall, dark, handsome boy of this class.

If in a sentence, when the last two are adjectives of color, they are usually separated by and.

A black and white cow (NOT black white cow)

Red and blue socks

Apart from coming before a noun and pronoun, Adjectives can also come after linking verbs to describe the subject. The most common linking verbs after which we use adjectives in English are: is, am, are, was, were, become, seem, appear, taste, feel, etc.

When adjectives come after linking verbs, they usually describe the subject.

The dinner tasted fantastic. (Adjective ‘Fantastic’ is describing the subject ‘dinner’ )

The little girl is very beautiful. (Adjective ‘Little’ and ‘Beautiful’ both are describing the girl)

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Types of Adjectives

There are different types of adjectives for different usage. Adjectives can be classified into many types, but there are mainly 5 types of Adjectives, which are described as follows:

1. Adjectives of quality

Adjectives of quality show the Kind, type, or quality of a person or a thing. They are used to specify what is the particular quality of a person or a thing.

Bhagat Singh was a great person. (Here the adjective great shows a certain quality of Bhagat Singh)

Kanpur is a large city of Uttar Pradesh (Here the adjective large shows a quality of the Kanpur city)

The adjectives which are formed from proper nouns are generally considered as adjectives of quality. Examples are the Indian Economy, Swiss Watches, etc.

2. Adjectives of quantity

Adjectives of quantity are used to describe the number of things, which are uncountable. They are used in a sentence to answer, ‘How much’?

Some examples of adjectives of quantity are enough, some, any, a half, whole, much, little, all, no  etc.

I need some water.

He loves her very much.

You should have enough patience to deal with things.

3. Adjectives of number

The adjectives which tell us How many are known as ‘Adjectives of number’.

Some examples of ‘adjectives of Number’ are one, two, many, first, tenth, all etc.

July is the seventh month of the year

India has twenty-nine states.

I found several mistakes in your letter.

Few people have worn the same dress.

4. Demonstrative adjectives

The adjectives which demonstrate or denote which person or thing is being talked about are Demonstrative adjectives. These adjectives answer the question ‘which?’.

Some examples of Demonstrative Adjectives are this, that, these, those and such. This and that are used with singular nouns. These and those are used with plural nouns.

This girl is talented.

You should not be friends with such people.

I love these dresses.

5. Interrogative adjectives

When there is a noun just after the Interrogative words ‘What, which and whose’  then these are termed as Interrogative adjectives. 

Which dress should I wear?

Whose book is this?

What type of shows do you like?

Degrees of Adjectives

There are three degrees of adjectives which are also called ‘Degrees of Comparison’. These are :
1. Positive Degree

2. Comparative Degree

3. Superlative Degree

A positive degree expresses the base form or simple form of an adjective. The comparative form is used to compare two people or two things. It shows a higher degree of quality than that is present in the positive degree. The highest degree of quality is expressed by a Superlative degree which expresses superiority among more than two people or things. For Example

  1. Riya is a smart girl.
  2. Riya is smarter than Preeti.
  3. Riya is the smartest girl in the whole class.

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Some common rules and Mistakes in the use of Adjectives

Rule 1: We use adjectives with a verb when some quality of the subject is expressed. We cannot use it with a verb when the action of the verb is to be expressed.  For example :

  • Incorrect: These flowers smell sweetly
  • Correct: These flowers smell sweet.
  • Incorrect: It tastes sourly.
  • Correct: It tastes sour. 

Rule 2: Use ‘to’ before superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior,  posterior and prefer. Some students often use ‘Than’ before these words which

Use ‘to’ before superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior,  posterior and prefer. Some students often use ‘Than’ before these words which is wrong.  For example :

  • Raman is junior to me.
  • I prefer tea to coffee.

Rule 3: For comparison of two things, always use the comparative degree of comparison. For example :

  • Incorrect: Take the shortest of the two routes.
  • Correct: Take the shorter of the two routes.
  • Incorrect: Of the two suggestions, the former is the best.
  • Correct: Of the two suggestions, the former is better.

Rule 4: Below is the very common error which students do in case of adjectives :

  • Incorrect: She is more stronger than her sister.
  • Correct: She is stronger than her sister.

Rule 5: Farther and further are used in a different sense in a sentence.  Farther refers to ‘to, at or by a greater distance’.It is used to indicate the extent to which one thing or person is or becomes distant from another. Further means additional/ additional to what already exists or has already taken place, been done. For example :

  • Incorrect: Bombay is further from Delhi then Agra.
  • Correct: Bombay is farther from Delhi than Agra.
  • Incorrect: Thailand is divided into 76 provinces, which are farther divided into over 800 districts.
  • Correct: Thailand is divided into 76 provinces, which are further divided into over 800 districts.

Rule 6: Use much and many correctly. Much is used for ‘Uncountable things’ and Many is used for ‘countable things’.  For example :

  • Incorrect: You have much books.
  • Correct: You have many books.
  • Incorrect: I have many work to do.
  • Correct: I have much work to do.

Rule 7: Make proper use of Last and latest. Latest means ‘the most recent’. Last means ‘the previous one’. For example :

  • Incorrect: Tell me the last news.
  • Correct: Tell me the latest news.

Rule 8: Use less with uncountable nouns. Use fewer with countable nouns.

  • Incorrect: I have less pen than you.
  • Correct: I have fewer pens than you.

Rule 9: Quantifiers like all, both and half go before possessives.

  • Incorrect: He wasted his all wealth.
  • Correct: He wasted all his wealth.

Rule 10: When there is a comparison of any kind, use comparative or superlative degree only. The use of ‘Positive degree’ is wrong in such cases. For example :

  • Incorrect: She is growing strong and strong every day.
  • Correct: She is growing stronger and stronger every day. 

Rule 11 : Note the pattern: that + adjective + a/an + noun

  • Incorrect: I can’t afford that big car.
  • Correct: I can’t afford that big a car.

Rule 12: Use Later and Latter correctly. Later(adverb) is related to time. It means for something to happen in the future. Latter is an adjective to describe the second thing or person when we are talking about two things or two persons.

  • Incorrect: Riya has two sisters, Reema and Rekha. The former is a doctor and the later is a lawyer.
  • Correct: Riya has two sisters, Reema and Rekha. The former is a doctor and the latter is a lawyer.
  • Incorrect: I am thinking to do this work latter as I am going to a Movie now.
  • Correct: I am thinking to do this work later as I am going to a Movie now.

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