Definition and Types of Adjective | Parts of Speech

Definition of an adjective

An adjective is defined a word which gives information about a noun, pronoun, or a noun phrase. It gives additional information about a noun or pronoun. It shows the quality, kind, or degree of a noun. Look at the examples below.

  • Sana gave me eight apples
  • The mouse is little.

In the first example, the word eight is telling about the quantity of apples. It is giving additional information about the apples, hence is an adjective.

In the second example, the word little is telling us about the quality of the mouse, that it is little, so it is an adjective too.

Definition of adjective in dictionary

Definitions of adjective vary according to dictionaries. Click here for definition of adjective in Merriam Webster dictionary.

Kinds of Adjective

Adjectives are categorized into many kinds, such as: Adjectives of quality, Adjectives of Quantity, Numeral Adjectives, Demonstrative Adjectives, Possessive Adjectives, and Interrogative adjectives.

Adjectives of Quality

Adjectives of quality describe the kind, quality, or degree, of a noun or pronoun. They are also called Descriptive Adjectives.


  • He ate a big mango.
  • Hassan is an honest man.
  • The child is foolish.
  • Arabic language is not hard to learn.

In the last example, the word Arabic is a Proper Noun. Such Adjectives which are formed from Proper Nouns are called sometimes as Proper Adjectives. They generally come under the category of Adjectives of Quality.

Adjectives of Quantity

These adjectives tell us about the quantity of a noun. They answer the question: How much?

Common Adjectives of Quantity are: some, much, no, any, little, enough, great, half, sufficient


  • Take great care of your grandma’s health.
  • The pay is enough for my expenses.
  • Half of the papers were checked.

 Adjectives of Number

Adjectives of Number tell us about how many things or people are meant or the order of standing of people or things. These are also called Numeral Adjectives. There are of three kinds of Numeral Adjectives: Definite Numeral Adjectives, Indefinite Numeral Adjectives and Distributive Numeral Adjectives.

Definite Numeral Adjectives: These represent an accurate number. Definite Numeral Adjectives are of further two types: Cardinals and Ordinals.

Cardinals indicate how many. Such as: One, two, three, etc.

Example: I have three pairs of scissors.

Ordinals indicate in which order. Such as: First, second, third, etc.

Example: She was the first one to arrive at the airport.

Indefinite Numeral Adjectives: Indefinite Numeral Adjectives do not represent an accurate number. Some of the common indefinite numeral adjectives are:

No, all, few, many, some, several, any, etc.

Examples in sentences

  • All the cats are sleeping.
  • I have taken several different baking lessons.
  • There are no pedestrians on the street.

Distributive Numeral Adjectives: These adjectives refer to a specific or all things or people of a bunch. Some common Distributive Numeral Adjectives are:

Every, each, either, neither

Examples in sentences:

  •  Each student must take its turn.
  • Neither proposal is acceptable.

Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative Adjectives point to a specific person or thing. They answer the question: Which? Some common demonstrative adjectives are:

This, that, these, those, such


  • This is my assignment.
  • Those are spicy dishes.
  • Such an attitude will cause him failure.

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are used to ask questions. When what, whose and which are used with a noun to ask questions, they become interrogative adjectives. Interrogative adjectives are only three and are very easy to remember.

Examples in sentences:

  • Which way goes to the mall?
  • What time is it?
  • Whose duty time is it?

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives denote the ownership of something. Common possessive adjectives are:

My, your, our, its, his, her, their

Examples in sentences:

  • My daily routine is pretty simple.
  • Your shoelaces are loose.
  • Cat is licking its paws.
  • They are doing their work.

Emphasising Adjectives

Emphasising adjectives are used to put emphasis in sentences. Look at the example below.

  • This is the very book I want.
  • Sarah saw the robbery with her own eyes.

In the examples above, very and own are added to put additional emphasis.

Exclamatory Adjective

Exclamatory adjective is used to exclaim excitement, fear and other extreme feelings. There is only one word which is usually used to exclaim i.e. what.

Examples in sentences:

  • What crap!
  • What a spectacular view!
  • What foolishness!

Degrees of Adjectives

Degrees of Comparison

Adjectives are changed in form very often to denote comparison. The degree to which an adjective changes, determines its degree. These degrees are called Degrees of Comparison.

There are three degrees of comparison: Positive Degree, Comparative Degree and Superlative Degree.

Positive Degree

An adjective with a positive degree is an adjective in its simple and original form. There is no comparison going on with anything. It just lets it known that some quality exists in something or someone. Look at the following examples.

  • The bus I took yesterday was very fast.
  • My dog is very intelligent.
  • This is a good working calculator.

In all of the above sentences, the presence of a quality is shown without comparison to anything else; this makes these words have Positive Degree.

Comparative Degree

The comparative degree of an adjective show that the presence of a quality in one thing is more or higher than its presence in the Positive. This degree is used when the comparison of two things is happening. Let’s see the examples below.

  • The bus I took yesterday was faster than the bus I took today.
  • My dog is more intelligent than my friend’s dog.
  • This is a better working calculator.

In all of the above examples, we are talking about the quality of one thing in comparison to the other. This comparison makes this degree the Comparative Degree.

Superlative Degree

The Superlative Degree of Comparison is used when the some quality in one thing or person is highest than anything or anyone else. Superlative degree is used when a thing or person is in comparison against more than one thing or person.


  • The bus I took yesterday was the fastest.
  • My dog is the most intelligent dog.
  • This is the best working calculator.

In all of the above examples, we have compared the thing we were talking about with all the other things of the like. This is the highest form of comparison and hence is the Superlative Degree.