Adjective Definition and Meaning

The adjective term derives from a Latin word and it is a type of word that qualifies or determines the noun. Adjectives express properties attributed to nouns, specifying or highlighting them. For example: “I can’t find any adjectives to describe how you have behaved”, “The press did not spare any adjectives to highlight the good performance of the Catalan team”, “I have been told many adjectives, but never beautiful. ”

The adjective can refer to a specific characteristic of the noun. The expression “The pants are blue” includes an adjective (“blue”) that expresses a visible property (the color) of the noun (“pants”). On the other hand, a phrase like “It is an easy match” presents an adjective (“easy”) that is abstract, since ease cannot be grasped by the senses but is rather a subjective matter that arises from a thought.

Classification of adjectives

We could establish three types: qualifying adjectives, demonstratives, and others (in the latter group, all those that are not within the other two groups are broadly included); However, the most precise is the classification developed by the official grammar of the Spanish language, which has a fairly extensive and detailed list of the different types of adjectives.

* Restrictive adjectives: within this group are those qualities that accompany nouns and restrict their characteristics in an exact way. For example, if we talk about “the white car” we are leaving out all those vehicles that are not that color.

* Non-restrictive adjectives: these adjectives serve to give more data about the noun but without limiting it; they are usually placed in front of it and modify it variably. For example, if we say “he is an excellent friend”, we use the adjective as a modifier without restricting the group of individuals that can enter that group.

* Gradual adjectives: it is a fairly large group of which adverbs of degree and other classifiers are part. For example, if we say “this magazine is uninteresting” we are evaluating the degree of interest that this publication arouses in us.

* Non-gradual adjectives: it is also a large group made up mostly of comparative adjectives, such as: tan, less or equal. The degree of quantification of the adjective is not determined, but a comparison is established. For example, when we say “Peter is smarter than John” we are using the comparison without explaining how smart each of the individuals is.

* Adjectives of extreme degree: they have a function similar to the gradual ones; that is, they express quantification, but they are absolute. In this group are those adjectives formed by the suffixes -errimo or -ísimo and by the prefixes re-, super-, mega- or hiper-.

Intersective adjectives: those that can give rise to an expression in which two types of characteristics meet, hence its name. For example, if we say “dwarf teacher” we are expressing that a person is a teacher and, at the same time, that he measures little.

* Non-intersective adjectives: unlike the previous ones, these adjectives do not link two words but rather are about independent characteristics. For example, if we say “He is an outstanding musician.” We are not informing about the person’s profession but, rather, we are talking about someone who stands out as music.

In any case, we must clarify that the most outstanding groups of adjectives are the adjectives and the demonstratives.

* Qualifying adjectives: are those that indicate a quality of the noun: “The house is big”, “This table is very old”, “The painting in the room is orange”, “She is beautiful”, “The glass is fragile”.

* Demonstrative adjectives: accompany the noun and serve to express the proximity that exists between sender and receiver, depending on the noun being spoken: “I am looking at this ornament “, ” What size is that dress? «


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