Types of Adjectives in English Grammar

Types of Adjectives in English Grammar

Adjectives are the most used parts of speech in sentences. There are several types of adjectives according to their uses. Let's get to know them briefly!

Types of Adjectives in English Grammar


Adjectives describe quality, size, shape, duration, feelings, contents etc. about a noun or pronoun in a sentence by answering the questions 'How many?', 'How much?', 'What kind?', 'Which one?'

I want more ice cream . (How much ? )

She has two puppies . (How many ? )

She has a cute baby . (What kind ? )

I want that shirt . (Which one ? )

In modern grammar, demonstratives are no longer considered adjectives, but 'determiners'.

But, there are so many adjectives which do not answer the questions we mentioned above. There are several types of adjectives according to their uses.

  • Descriptive Adjectives
  • Quantitative Adjectives
  • Compound Adjectives
  • Proper Adjectives
  • Nouns Used as Adjectives

Descriptive Adjectives

Descriptive adjectives (or qualitative adjectives) are adjectives which describe nouns and pronouns. Most of the adjectives belong in this type.
Descriptive adjectives can be:

  • attributive adjectives
  • predicate adjectives

Attributive Adjectives

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 fast car .

The word 'fast' is describing an attribute of the car.

I'm having a nice day .

Sometimes the attributive adjective appears directly after the noun. They are called postpositive adjectives.

The rain made the day nice and romantic .

This is an instance in which the attributive adjective appears directly behind the noun. 'nice and romantic' are describing the 'day'.

Predicate Adjectives

When adjectives appear after a linking verb (be, seem, become, appear ...) they are called predicative adjectives, because they form part of the predicate.

She became angry .

These muffins are delicious .

Quantitative Adjectives

Quantitative adjectives give us information about the quantity of the nouns. These adjectives answer to the questions of 'how much' and 'how many'. They can be further categorized into three groups:

  • Cardinal Adjectives
  • Ordinal Adjectives
  • Multiplicative Adjectives

Cardinal Adjectives

The Cardinal Adjectives answer to the question 'how many' as one, two, three, four, etc.

I got five chocolate chip cookies .

Ordinal Adjectives

The Ordinal Adjectives describe the numeral order of things like first, second, third, fourth, etc.

We went on our first date last night .

Multiplicative Adjectives

The Multiplicative Adjectives describe 'how many fold' something is, like single, double, triple, etc.

Do you want to go on a double date ?

Compound Adjectives

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.

The stars enjoyed an intense but short-lived romance .

I just came from a three-hour lecture on wind-powered turbines .

Proper Adjectives

Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns. When proper nouns describe other nouns, they become proper adjectives.

I love Chinese food .

American cars are very strong .

Nouns Used as Adjectives

Sometimes we use a noun to describe another noun. In that case, the first noun acts as an adjective.

My math teacher is very mean .

I'm reading a love story .

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