Adjectives are words that we use on a daily basis and that are very important in our language. The adjective modifies the noun and must agree in gender and number. Therefore, they are words that complement a noun and modify it by giving more information about it. They express characteristics that are attributed to the noun.
Types of adjectives
Adjectives can be classified taking into account different criteria and can even fall into several categories depending on how they are used. The most frequent types of adjectives are classified as follows:
- Qualifying adjectives. Modifies the noun indicating a quality or characteristic giving us more information about it. They can be put before or after the noun. Examples: “brown cat”, “sad child”, “happy person”.
- Native adjectives. They determine the origin of a person or thing. Examples: “The French man has a bicycle”.
- Relational adjectives. They place the noun within a class, typology, scope, etc. They modify the meaning of the noun they accompany. It has no degree. Examples: “terrorist attack”, “parliamentary decision”.
- Determinative adjectives. They do not qualify the noun but they provide information that limits its scope. They can express closeness or distance in time or space (example: “that car”), quantity or order (“three notebooks”), possession (“they are my books”) or idea of a certain quantity (“sometimes”). Currently they are only considered determiners and not adjectives, but it is a good idea to take them into account in traditional grammar.
- Demonstrative adjectives. They express the position, proximity or distance of the noun with respect to to the person or thing it refers to. Examples of space: “that book”, “that dog”, “tonight”.
- Possessive adjectives. They mark a relationship of belonging, possession or property of the noun with respect to the person who refers to it. Examples: “Our cat is called Thor”. If the adjective comes before the noun, they are unstressed or weak possessive adjectives (“my book”), if it comes after the noun they are called stressed or strong possessives (“your cats” ).
- Numerical adjectives. They give a precise idea of quantity or order. There are cardinals (“three books”), computers (“first birthday”), multiples (“triple plate”), partitives (“half the cake”).
- Indefinite adjectives. They indicate an indeterminate or imprecise quantity. Examples: “many books on the shelf”, “some dogs are at the door”.
- Interrogative and exclamatory adjectives. They are used to accompany the noun in exclamatory or interrogative sentences. Examples: “How many cats are up for adoption?”, “What things are you telling me!”. In order not to confuse exclamatory and interrogative pronouns and realize that we are dealing with an adjective or pronoun, we have to look at if “what”, “which”, “how much”, etc. they are accompanying a noun or if they replace it.
Agreement between adjective and noun
In Spanish, adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun to which they belong. they modify. There are also adjectives with an ending that do not vary in gender but do vary in number. Examples: big, strong, kind, agile, weak, fragile, worse, better, singular, fleeting, fast, common, mean.
The degrees of adjectives
Adjectives express qualities but to give them more or less intensity, the adjective is modified and thus intensity is given which is known as degrees of the adjective:
- Positive degree: the adjective shows a quality of the noun. Example: “big bike”.
- Comparative degree: the quality of the noun is shown in comparison to another. Example: “This bike is bigger than that one”.
- Superlative degree: shows the highest possible degree of the quality of the noun. Example: “This bike is great”.
As you can see, it is easy to understand the subject of adjectives, it is only very important to know the types that exist and what are its functions as well as the agreement between noun and adjective. Knowing this, using them will become a very simple task and your language will be much richer in all its aspects. A well-used adjective gives you a lot of information about the noun and helps you better understand the context.