Adjectives | Adjective Degrees | Numeral Adjectives

An Adjective is a word that describes or limits a noun. In the sentence, John has pretty books, the adjective pretty describes the noun books and tells what sort of books they are. In the sentence, John has some books, the adjective some does not describe the noun books but is said to limit it.

The limiting adjective The is commonly called the Definite Article, and the limiting adjective A or An is commonly called the Indefinite Article.

The adjective has, commonly, no inflection for number, gender or case, in English, but descriptive adjectives have an inflection called Comparison.

Degrees of Adjectives

There are three Degrees of Comparison. The Positive Degree is the adjective itself; as, tall men, strong horses. The Comparative Degree is the form by which we show that one thing has more of a certain quality than another thing ; as. Men are taller than boys. Horses are stronger than men. The Superlative Degree is the form by which we show that one thing has more of a certain quality than any other thing of the same class ; as, John is the tallest man in town. John’s horse is the strongest on the farm.

Adjectives of one syllable commonly form their Comparative by adding ci^ and their Superlative by adding est to the Positive ; as,



Adjectives of more than one syllable commonly form their Comparative by using more and their Superlative by using most before the Positive ; as,

beautifulmore beautifulmost beautiful
generousmore generousmost generous
difficultmore difficultmost difficult


Some adjectives are compared Irregularly. The following are the most important :

good or wellbetterbest


Analyze the following sentences and parse each word. Note.—The only new form is the adjective, and this is to be parsed by telling whether it is descriptive or limiting, comparing it, stating its degree and naming the noun which it modifies. Any number of adjectives may modify the same noun.

Mary wears a new dress. Farmers sell fine horses. Fish live in deep streams. William sat on a high fence. Eagles build nests in dangerous places. Pretty birds live in the green woods. The boy took the best apple. Men haul heavy loads on strong wagons. The train ran through a deep cut. A boy found a rabbit in a hollow tree. The dogs have run a red fox through a large field. Charles ate the worst pear. William gave the poor beggar a dollar. The kind nurse will tell the children pretty stories. Mary caught the hindmost boy. The wild pony has hurt the careless rider. The farmer’s strongest horse pulled the load. The bravest hunter feared the savage lion. The lamb ran into a safer spot. The violent wind has broken the large tree. The most beautiful flowers grow in the garden. Showmen keep the more dangerous animals in cages. Indians kindle great fires in cold weather. The best scholars get the highest marks. The most studious boys learn the longest lessons. Jane gave Charles the best peach.

Numeral Adjectives

Numeral Adjectives are limiting adjectives that express number. They are of three kinds.
(1) Cardinal Numerals answer the question, How many ? as, One, Two, Three, etc.
(2) Ordinal Numerals answer the question. Of what rank ? as. First, Second, Third, etc.
(3) Distributive Numerals answer the question, How many apiece ? as. One apiece, Two apiece, Three apiece, etc.

Types of Adjectives

Demonstrative Adjectives are used to point out things ; as, this ; plural, these, that ; plural, those.
Indefinite Adjectives are those adjectives that express number or quantity, but not exactly ; as, all, any, few, some, etc.
Interrogative Adjectives are used in asking questions ; as, which, what.

Analyze the following sentences and parse each word, noticing the numeral, demonstrative, indefinite and interrogative adjectives especially, and the nouns that they modify.

Many men ride in cars. Several people were killed. Nine soldiers have been arrested. That man will come to a bad end. The boy gave the girls two apples apiece. Those men will sell twenty horses. The merchant has bought many shoes. This horse hurt several good riders. Which boys went to school ? Those people called Henry. This lad has bought many books. What dog was shot ? Slaves enjoy few pleasures. Which boy called Susan?

When the modified noun is left out the adjective is used as a noun, and is parsed as subject or direct object, etc. Analyze the following sentences and parse each word, noticing the adjectives used as nouns especially.

The good help the poor. The careless make mistakes. The weak fell by the way. The doctor will give the sick medicine. The timid dread danger. The foolish dislike good advice. Brave soldiers will spare the helpless. The wise pity the fooLIsh. The rich have loaned money to the poor. The king will give shelter to the weak. The weary will find rest.

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