Adjectives are words that describes the noun (or the pronoun). It qualifies or modifies a noun. Generally, an adjective can be used either before a noun, or after a verb.


• A huge rock

• A tiny needle

• A sunny afternoon

Spicy food

The adjectives in the above examples describe or tell us more about the nouns that follow.

• I love spicy dishes.

• This is unbelievable!

The first sentence from the pair above makes use of adjectives by placing them before a noun (dishes). The second sentence places the adjective after a linking verb (is).

You may use more than one adjective at a time like in the following sentence.


• A neat beautiful house.

• The shiny bright light.

How are Adjectives Classified?

Adjectives are of different types used according to their purpose. They can be:

• Gradable and Non-gradable

• Possessive

• Comparative

• Superlative

1. Gradable and Non-gradable:

When describing nouns the intensity, with which the description is needed, varies. These adjectives used as “intensifiers” are known as Gradable.


• slow, very slow, rather slow, slower, slowest

• big, very big, bigger, biggest

The adjectives slow and big are Gradable.

However, not all adjectives can be graded. The ones which cannot be intensified in any way are known as Non-Gradable.

Examples not to use are in red:

• excellent, more excellent, less excellent, very excellent

• chemical, more chemical, less chemical, very chemical

Nothing can be “more excellent”; the phrase “less chemical” is incorrect in English as well.

The Non-gradable adjectives are always words which describe the extremes (freezing, boiling, excellent), the absolutes (dead, alive, impossible) and classifying (digital, chemical, atomic).

With logic and common sense, these lists will become clearer. For example, an English speaker will find it unnatural to say “more awful” or “less excellent”. These adjectives are in their extreme states already; you cannot make them more or less intense!

2. Possessives and Determiners:

Possessive adjectives are determiners like my, your, its, our, his, her, their etc.

Other determiners include:

• A, the, an

• Each, every

• Several

• Enough

• Some, any, no

3. Comparatives:

Comparative adjectives are used to compare two items on basis of some difference or some similarity.


• An elephant is bigger than a mouse

• A fox is foxier than an elephant

The comparative form of adjective “big” is “bigger” and that of “foxy” (meaning: Having skill in deception) is “foxier”.

4. Superlatives:

Superlatives are used to express an extreme degree of some quality among a group of things. It is used when you discuss two or more things, and not only two things.


• An elephant is the biggest among all animals

• A fox is the cleverest.

Tip: Many grammarians feel that adjectives make sentences verbose (meaning: containing too many words). Many times a Noun is sufficient to say what you mean clearly. Adjectives are not always necessary.


“It had a quality of being very different and one of a kind.”

- can be written as:

“It had a quality of uniqueness.”

- where “uniqueness” is a noun.

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