Free Grammar Help—Words — Adjective Types
Definition: Adjectives are words that modify nouns. Adjectives are one of the 8 parts of speech. They give some information about nouns, such as color or how many. There are actually several types of adjectives. Adjectives can be descriptive, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, or indefinite. Below are some examples of types of adjectives, along with examples of their usage.
Most adjectives are descriptive adjectives. These are simply words that help to describe nouns. They can be colours, sizes, or other describing words.
Possessive adjectives are like possessive pronouns, but act as adjectives. They are: my, your, its, our, and their. They demonstrate a relationship of ownership. In the examples below, the possessive adjectives are in red. The nouns they modify are in blue. Remember: it's an adjective if it comes with the noun; it's a pronoun if it replaces the noun.
This is worth saying again: possessive adjectives never use an apostrophe. This is tricky because when we use what is normally a noun in the form of an adjective to indicate possession, we use an apostrophe. But when we use the possessive adjective in place of a noun (which is why we sometimes call them possessive pronouns) there is a tendancy to want to use the apostrophe. Don't do it! Even though we might write "The dog's bone," we do not subsequently refer to "it's bone." "It's" is a contraction meaning "It is"; "Its" is a possessive pronoun. A similar mistake is using "who's" for "whose". Sometimes people also throw an apostrophe into "hers" or "theirs" and write "her's" or "their's." Here's a printable chart for apostrophe usage.
It is my ball.
We are going to her home.
I am playing his computer game.
Can I pet your dog?
We love our new car.
We also use possessive adjectives when we talk about an action that serves as the subject of a sentence.
For example: Our selling the house was the result of the bad economy.
This means the same as: The bad economy forced us to sell the house. However, this is often incorrectly written as "Us selling the house..."
Demonstrative Adjectives are identical to demonstrative pronouns, but are used for a different purpose. Remember it is the function of the word that defines what kind of word it is in terms of the parts of speech. The demonstrative adjectives are: this, that, those, and what. In the following sentences the demonstrative adjectives are in red and the nouns they modify are in blue.
Take this job and shove it.
I love that new dress.
Who are those people?
I don't know what investment you made.
Another type of adjective is the interrogative adjective. Interrogative adjectives include the words which and what. In the following sentences the interrogative adjectives are in red and the nouns they modify are in blue.
Which company do you want to invest in?
What bank do you trust with your money?
Our final type of adjective is the indefinite adjective. What is an indefinite adjective? Well, I can't be definite about it. OK, let's see. It's an adjective that's not definite. Too vague? How about a word like "some" or "many." Getting clearer?
Some people wanted to buy stocks.
Many people wanted to buy bonds.
A few people wanted to buy gold.
Why indefinite? Because it's not exactly clear how many or who.