What is an Adjective? – Grammar for IELTS

An adjective is a part of speech that describes or modifies a noun in a sentence. An adjective usually comes before a noun or after a verb. In order to know the adjective, the first thing is to do to identify nouns and pronouns.

Example: The little baby was sick. Here the word ‘baby’ is a noun. the words ‘little’ and ‘sick ‘described the noun.

She is beautiful. Here ‘she’ is a pronoun and ‘beautiful’ is the adjective that describes the pronoun.

There are 9 types of adjectives.

1. Proper Adjective

A proper adjective is derived from a proper noun.

 For example, An Italian actor came to the film festival. Here ‘Italian’ and ‘film’ are proper adjectives.

2. Descriptive, qualitative, or attributive adjective

Of the numerous categories of adjectives, descriptive adjectives are the most prevalent. Adjectives that are descriptive are typically what one envisions when seeing a word modifying a noun. This adjective qualifies a noun by expressing a quality or characteristic.

For example, A brave child. Here adjective ‘brave’ describes the quality of the noun ‘child’.

A medical college. Here the word ‘medical’ (adjective) describes what kind of ‘college’ (Noun) it is.

3. Quantitative adjective

A quantitative adjective shows how much (quantity) of a thing( noun) is meant.

For example, She only ate some fruit. Here ‘some’ (adjective) describes the quantity of the ‘fruit’ (noun).

4. Numeral adjective

This adjective Shows the number or serial order of persons or things. They are of three kinds.

  • Cardinals (One, two, three, four)
  • Ordinals (First, second, third, fourth)
  • Multiplicative (Single, double, triple, quadruple)

For example, They gave me two books. Here ‘two’ is the numeral adjective.

5. Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives are often used to express possession or ownership. The most commonly used possessive adjectives are my, your, its, her, his, our, their, and whose.

For example, Brent spent the day with his brother. Here ‘his’ is a possessive adjective.

6. Demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives are used to express relative positions in space and time. The most commonly used demonstrative adjectives are this, that, these, and those.

For example, This weekend is going to be stressful. Here ‘This’ is a demonstrative adjective.

7. Interrogative adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are adjectives that are used to ask questions. Interrogative adjectives are What, Which and Whose. They modify the noun that they are preceding

For example: Which button turns off the lights? Here ‘which’ is an interrogative adjective.

8. Participial adjectives

Participial adjectives are adjectives that are based on participles, which are words that usually end in -ed or -ing and derive from verbs.

For example: Please hand me my reading glasses. Here ‘reading’ is a participial adjective as it describes the noun ‘glasses’.

9. Distributive adjectives

Distributive adjectives are used to refer to members of a group individually. Examples of distributive adjectives include each, every, either, and neither.

For example: Neither Rob nor Ross is here.

Here ‘neither’ is a distributive adjective.

Test your knowledge of the types of adjectives by taking the following quiz.


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