We can categorize adjectives based on different categories:
Based on Placement
Based on their position in a sentence, i.e. where they appear in a sentence, they can be categorized into two main groups:
Attributive adjectives come directly before a noun and attribute a quality to the noun they modify. More than one adjective can modify the same noun.
I have a
The word 'fast' is describing an attribute of the car.
I'm having a
Attributive Adjectives: Types
Attributive adjectives can appear directly after or before the noun. Based on this, they can be categorized into two groups:
'Pre-positive adjectives' are adjectives that are used before nouns it means that they make a noun phrase. Remember, we can have a set of unlimited attributive adjectives before a noun.
They were waiting in a
He was wearing a
A postpositive adjective (also called postnominal adjective) is an adjective that occurs immediately after the noun or pronoun that it modifies.
We need someone
When adjectives appear after a linking verb (be, seem, become, appear...) they are called predicative adjectives, because they form part of the predicate. Check out the examples for more clarification:
Based on Formation
Based on how they are formed, we can categorize adjectives into two types:
Simple adjectives are the most basic kind of adjectives. They are formed with only one word.
A compound adjective (also called a hyphenated adjective) contains two or more words. They are often separated by a hyphen to avoid confusion or ambiguity. Here are some examples:
The stars enjoyed an intense but
He always drives
Based on Capitalization
Based on whether their first letter is capitalized or not, adjectives can have two groups:
All the Adjectives except proper adjectives are considered common adjectives.
It was a
Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns. When proper nouns describe other nouns, they become proper adjectives.
Based on Gradeability
Based on whether the adjective has a scalar meaning or an absolute meaning, they can be categorized into two main groups:
Gradable (also called scalar) adjectives have a meaning that can be placed on a scale of meaning. For example:
- smart, dumb, stupid
- fast, quick, slow
- bright, dark, light
'Non-gradable Adjectives' are definite in nature. It means that they are on the furthest part of a spectrum. They are generally, incapable of being intensified.
The party was
Based on Comparability
Based on comparability, adjectives can be categorized into two main groups:
Non-comparable adjectives (also called absolute adjectives) are definite in nature. It means that you cannot change them or make a superlative or comparative adjective from them. They are generally, incapable of being intensified. For example adjectives such as (dead, pregnant, etc.)
A person cannot be more dead as they are, or a mother cannot be more pregnant than she is.
I have an
Based on Degree
Some adjectives are comparable and this comparison is called degree. For example, a person may be 'nice,' but another person may be 'nicer,' and a third person may be the 'nicest' of the three. Based on this comparison, adjectives can be:
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
Some adjectives are comparable and this comparison is called degree. For example, a person may be 'nice,' but another person may be 'nicer,' and a third person may be the 'nicest' of the three.
The previous movie was more
Based on Restrictiveness
Whether the attributive adjectives are necessary to the whole meaning of the sentence or not, they can be categorized into two groups:
Restrictive and Non-restrictive Adjectives
Some attributive adjectives are necessary to the meaning of the sentence (i.e. they are restrictive) and some are not (i.e. they are non-restrictive). Look at the following examples:
She was an irresponsible woman, who would not do a
Here 'difficult' is restrictive: it tells which tasks she avoids, distinguishing these from the easy ones.
Her task was filing the documents signed by her predecessor, and she performed this
Here 'difficult' is non-restrictive: it is already known which task it was, but the adjective describes it more fully.
Nouns Used as Adjectives
Sometimes we use a noun to describe another noun. In that case, the first noun acts as an adjective.
I'm reading a
Nominal adjectives (also called substantive adjectives) almost act as a noun. It means that they were supposed to be followed by a noun, but somehow the noun after them is omitted. Yet, you can easily understand what the adjective is referring to. Check out the examples:
It has been set up to help the
The charity dedicated $100 to the
- Nominal Adjectives