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An adjective describes a noun or a pronoun. We use adjectives to say what a noun is like or seems like. For example, adjectives can give us information about:

  • Quality: a pleasant day

  • Size: a small room

  • Age: a young man

  • Temperature: a hot day

  • Shape: a square table

  • Colour: a black cat


Adjectives – Word Order

The order of the words needs to be maintained when two or more adjectives are used to describe a noun. The position of the adjectives depends on how closely they are related to the noun. There are no hard and fast rules for it but the following guidelines will be of some help.


Adjectives: Usual Order

Noun

Quality Size/ Age/ Colour Origin Past Shape Participle


beautiful old brown Indian handmade

table marble dining table


Please note that general qualities go before particular qualities. 


Noun: A noun may be of 

  1. one word: a table.

  2. two words: a dining table.

  3. three words: a marble dining table.

Where there are three words, material (marble) precedes purpose or use (dining): a cotton summer dress, etc.


1. Adjective Past Participle: This is usually placed closest to the noun:

a handmade teak chair.

a woven shawl.


2. Origin: ‘Nationality’ word indicating origin or an adjective referring to a historical period (eg. ancient) usually precedes an adjectival past participle:

an Indian handmade saree.

a Japanese machine-made cotton dress. 


1. Size/Age/Shape/Temperature/Flavour, etc: Size generally precedes age, shape, etc.

a large new round table

a huge cold chocolate milkshake


2. Quality (i.e., Subjective Assessment): Adjective expressing our general opinion of the quality of people or things comes first.

a beautiful public park

a cheap Indian hotel

3. Modification with ‘great’, ‘big’ and ‘little’: The adjective, big or great generally precedes quality adjectives, while ‘little’ generally comes after:

a big tall cop

a nice little shed

a friendly little man


Correct Use of Adjectives

1. Later, latest: Both denote time. ‘Later’ is opposed to ‘earlier’:

Suresh came to the school later than I.

What is the latest information?


2. Latter, last: Both are used for position or order. ‘Latter’ refers to the second of two things, people or groups that have been mentioned, or the last in a list. ‘Latter’ is opposed to ‘former’:

Rajesh and his friend play together.

The former is a football player, the latter is a cricketer.

‘Last’ is used for a happening or coming after all other similar things or people. ‘Last’ is opposed to ‘first’:

He works in the last office in the building.


3. Nearest, next: ‘Nearest’ refers to the distance:

Which is the nearest pharmacy store?

‘Next’ refers to order:

Whose turn is the next?

Mr Kumar lives in the next house.


4. Elder, eldest: Both are used for members of the same family. ‘Elder’ is never followed by ‘than’:

Sujoy is my elder brother.

Sunita is his eldest daughter.


5. Older, oldest: Both are used for persons and things:

She is older than I am.

The tree is older than that.

Ramu is the oldest villager.

This is the oldest temple in our village.


6. Farther, further: ‘Farther’ means more distant:

There is a tea stall at the farther end of the lane.

‘Further’ means additional:

She received no further help.


Kinds of Adjectives

1. Qualitative Adjectives (or Descriptive Adjectives) describe the kind, quality or characteristic of a person, animal, place or thing:

She is a beautiful girl.

The clever old black crow sits on the tall red smooth pillar.

I have learnt the Spanish language. 


Other Examples: big, small, hot, cold, honest, foolish, intelligent, etc.


2. Quantitative Adjectives indicate how much or what quantity of a thing is:

Give me some milk.

Much flour is needed to bake a cake.


Other Examples: little, less, none, enough, all, half, sufficient, a lot of, plenty of, any, great, whole, etc.


3. Numeral Adjectives (or Adjectives of Numbers) indicate how many persons or things are meant or in what order a person or thing stands. They are of three kinds:

Two birds are sitting there.

There are many rooms in the house.


Other Examples: Few, some, all, any, many, several, no, most, certain, sundry, etc.


4. Demonstrative Adjectives point to persons or things:

This girl is the winner.

That student is the topper in his class.


Other Examples: this, that, these, those, such


5. Interrogative Adjectives are used when questions are asked.

Which book do you want?

What material is that?

Whose book is this?


Other Examples: what, which, whose


6. Exclamatory Adjective: The word what is used as an Exclamatory Adjective also; as

What a movie!

What breaking news!


7. Possessive Adjectives show the person or thing in a relationship with the other. They also show possession. They answer the question whose?

Her cousin is a doctor.

Their house is large.


Ex: my, our, your, his, her, its, their


8. Emphasizing Adjectives stresses on the person or thing.

This is my own car.

He was the very man the cops wanted to see.


9. Distributive Adjectives show persons or things both singly and collectively.

Each boy has to give a presentation.

Every member reached on time.

You can use either pen.


These adjectives are each, every, either, neither, etc.


Solved Exercise

Q1. Put the Right Adjectives in the Following Sentences.

  1. Did you hear the (latest, last) news?

  2. Suresh is not fond of (this, these) kinds of desserts.

  3. My friend lives in the (nearest, next) apartment.

  4. Who is (more, most) beautiful, the queen or Snow White?

  5. Can you please post this without (further, farther) delay?

  6. Anne is my (older, elder) sister?

  7. The judge accepted the (latter, later) proposal.


Solution

  1. Did you hear the latest news?

  2. Suresh is not fond of these kinds of desserts.

  3. My friend lives in the next apartment.

  4. Who is more beautiful, the queen or Snow White?

  5. Can you please post this without further delay?

  6. Anne is my elder sister.

  7. The judge accepted the latter proposal.


Q2. Arrange the Adjectives in the Correct Order Before the Noun, Changing ‘a’ and ‘an’ Wherever Necessary.

  1. A coat (leather, black, dirty) _____________________.

  2. A dress (Indian, cotton, green) ______________________.

  3. A car (black, small Korean) ________________________.

  4. A horse (brown, thin, countryside) _______________________.

  5. A room (narrow, dark, dirty) _______________________.


Solution

  1. A dirty black leather coat.

  2. A green cotton Indian dress.

  3. A small black Korean car.

  4. A thin brown countryside horse.

  5. A dark narrow dirty room.


Q3. Fill in the Blanks Using One of the Options Given Below Each Question.

a. The Poor Man Wore a __________ Dress.

  a) tear b) tore c) torn d) tearing


b. Lata is the _________ of the Four Sisters.

a) tall b) taller c) tallest d) more taller


c. Raju is _________ than Manav.

a) fast b) faster c) fastest d) more fast


d. I Saw _________ Flowers in the Garden.

a) little b) a little c) many d) much


e. This Bed Feels ________.

a) soft b) softer c) softest d) softly


Solution

  1. The poor man wore a torn dress.

  2. Lata is the tallest of the four sisters.

  3. Raju is faster than Manav.

  4. I saw many flowers in the garden.

  5. The bed feels soft.

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