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An adjective is a word which qualifies a noun or a pronoun.
Following are the kinds of adjectives:
Formation of Adjectives
A number of adjectives are formed from other parts of speech by the addition of certain suffixes.
Degrees of Comparison
Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Bold Bolder Boldest
Sweet Sweeter sweetest
Long Longer Longest
Formation of Comparative Superlative
(i) Adjective of one-syllable add ‘er’ in the comparative form and ‘est’ in superlative form.
Positive Comparative Superlative
tall taller tallest
short shorter shortest
clever cleverer cleverest
fine finer finest
brave braver bravest
wise wiser wisest
big bigger biggest
fat fatter fattest
hot hotter hottest
sad sadder saddest
glad gladder gladdest
slim easier easiest
dry drier driest
holy holier holiest
funny funnier funniest
happy happier happiest
bad worst worst
good better best
well better best
little less least
much more most
many more most
far farther farthest
far further furthest
old elder eldest (of people only)
old older oldest (of people and things)
Some of the non-gradable adjective are as follows:
Absolute, chief, complete, blind, head, dumb, entire, excellent, extreme, full, ideal, impossible, perfect, right, round,
square, universal, unique, whole, wrong.
Determiners fall into the following categories:
(i) Article: a, an, the
(ii)Possessives: my, our, your, his, her, their, its
(iii)Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
These are used to point out people or things. For example,
This car is red.
That boy is fat.
(iv) Distributive: each, every, either, neither.
They refer to each member of class separately. For example,
I have met seven girls. Each girl is smart/Every girl is smart.
(v) Number expressions: another, many, several, some, any, no few enough, a number of, a lot of, lots of,
plenty of, some of, many of one, two, three,…. (cardinal numbers)
First, second, third, last, next, ….(ordinal numbers)
(vi) Quantifiers: much, some, no, any, little, enough, a lot of, lots of, plenty of, much of, some of.
(vii) Interrogatives: what, which.
They combine with nouns to form interrogative expression used in questions. For example,
What color is the sky?
Which girl is the tallest?
There are some words which are used in the comparative adjectives are followed by ‘to’ in place of ‘than’. These
words are: inferior, superior, prior, interior, posterior, senior, junior etc. For example,
He is superior to me. (not, than)
This is inferior to that. (not, than)
He is junior to me.
She is senior to him.
The adjective ‘preferable’ is used as a comparative. It is followed by ‘to’. It is not used with ‘more’. For example,
This is more preferable than that, (Incorrect)
This is preferable to that. (Correct)
Fish is more preferable to red meat. (Incorrect)
Fish is preferable to red meat. (Correct)
The construction one of the + superlative + plural noun is used to compare more than two people more
than two people or things. For example,
Kalidas is one of the greatest poets.
Jaisalmer is one of the hottest places in summer.
Note: A plural noun is always used after the superlative. For example,
One of the brightest objects.
One of the cheapest bags.
The construction as + adjective (positive degree) + as indicates equality between two people or things.
He is as gentle as a lamb.
Virtue is as important as money.
Ram is as tall as Shyam
Note: Some of the idiomatic comparisons are as follows:
As black as coal/pitch as happy as lark
As brave as a lion as hot as fire
As bright as silver as light as a feather
As busy as a bee as proud as a peacock
As clear as crystal /day as quiet as a mouse
As cunning as a fox as red as blood
As cold as ice as smooth as velvet
As easy as ABC as stupid as an ass
The following constructions also express comparison of two actions (infinitive):
Prefer/would prefer ….. Rather than
Had rather ….. Than
Had better ….. Than
Would sooner …… than
I prefer to eat rather than cook
I prefer to starve rather than beg
I prefer to fight rather than surrender
The construction that + comparative …. the + comparative is used to express parallel increase or decrease i.e.
proportion. For example,
The older you are the wiser you grow.
The higher you go the harder you fall.
The following constructions are used to express gradual increase or decrease:
The construction comparative form + and + comparative form is used to express gradual increase or decrease. For
The patient is getting weaker and weaker.
Thieves are getting bolder and bolder.
It is growing darker and darker.
‘Farther’ means ‘more distant in place’ i.e. ‘a greater distance’, For example,
Delhi is farther from Patna than Lucknow.
Patna is farther/further away than Ranchi
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No further discussion is required now.
(i) Elder or eldest is used to compare the members of the same family, i.e. close family relations like, sons,
daughters, brother, sisters. It indicates seniority rather than age. For example,
My eldest brother is the head of the family. (not, oldest brother)
Where is your eldest son? (not oldest).
Note: Elder / eldest is always used attributively (i.e. place immediately before the noun).
(not, my brother is elder /eldest)
(ii) Elder is not used with ‘than’ or ‘to’. For example,
He is older than his sister. (elder is not acceptable here)
(not, He is elder to/than his sister.)
Older than must be used to indicate age.
(iii)Elder/ eldest is preceded by ‘the’ and followed by ‘of when it (elder/eldest) is used predicatively (used after
the verb). For example,
He is the elder of the two.
He is the eldest of the five sons.
(iv) Older/oldest is used of both people and things. It expresses age, so it is used for comparison within the same
family as well. For example,
He is older than his sister. (not, elder)
This museum is older than that. (not, elder)
He is the oldest man in the village. (not, eldest)
This is the oldest tree in the forest. (not, eldest)
She is the oldest student in her class.
(v) Elder brother /sister are used when a person has only one brother / sister who is older; eldest is used when
there are more. An elder son/daughter is the older of two; and eldest son/daughter is the oldest of two or
Later, Latter, Latest, Last
(i) Later and latest denote time. For example,
She came later than me. (not latter)
I haven’t yet heard the latest news. (not, last)
(ii) Latter and Last refer to position (place). For example,
Keats and Shelley are great poets but the former is greater than the latter. (not, later)
He is the last candidate on the list. (not, latest)
‘Former’ means ‘the first of the two people or things mentioned already’, ‘latter’ means ‘the second of the
two people or things mentioned already’. Therefore, both are used with reference to two only. for example,
Of the two poets (Yeats and Tagore), I prefer the former to the latter.
(iv) First, Last
When the reference is to more than two people or things we use first /last. ‘First’ means ‘coming before all
others in order’ and ‘last’ means ‘coming after all others in order’. For example,
January is the first and December the last month of the year.
Of the three alternatives the first is the best and the last is the worst.
(former/latter is not acceptable here)
(v) Nearest, Next
Nearest denotes distance. For example,
Which is the nearest port?
This school is the nearest to my house.
Next denotes position. For example,
My house is next to hers.
He sat next to his wife.
(vi) Fewer, Less, Lesser
‘Fewer’ denotes ‘number’. Fewer’ is the comparative of ‘few’ (used before plural nouns). For example,
There are no fewer than twenty people here.
Fewer buses are available at night.
‘Less’ denotes quantity. For example,
I earn less money than a postman.
But a cardinal number + plural noun takes ‘less’ (not, fewer) because in this construction the number denotes a
definite amount/quantity. For example,
a) There are five persons less for work today. (not, fewer)
b) You may pay ten rupees less. (not, fewer)
c) ‘Lesser’ means ‘less important’ or ‘less serious’. For example,
d) The lesser poets of our times don’t receive any attention at all.
e) I have got to choose the lesser of two evils.
f) Mathali Saran Gupta is a lesser known writer.
Few, A few, The few
“Few’ means ‘not many’; hardly any’, It has a negative meaning. For example,
a) Few people can speak correct English, (no people)
b) Few men there are that really care. (no man)
‘A few’ means ‘some’. It has a positive meaning. For example,
c) He has a few friends. (some friends)
d) A few people can speak correct English. (some people)
‘The few’ means ‘not many, but all that are there’. For example,
e) They sold the few dogs that they had. (not, a few)
f) He had already read the few books that I have. (not, a few)
Little, A little, the little
‘Little’ means ‘not any’; ‘almost nil’. Little’ is used in negative sense. For example,
a) He has little money. (no money)
b) She has little confidence in herself. (no confidence)
‘A little’ means ‘some though not much’. It has a positive meaning. For example,
c) He has a little money. (Some money)
d) There is a little after in the well. (Some water)
e) She gave the beggar a little food. (some food)
f) All I ask for is a little help from you. (some help)
‘The little’ means ‘mot much, but all that is there’. For example,
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