Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

1 ADJECTIVES: EXPRESSION OF QUALITY.EXPRESSION OF DEGREE AND COMPARISON 1st part: Introduction. 2nd part: classification of adjectives.

3rd part: comparison of adjectives. 4th part: word order of adjectives. 1.Introduction:What are adjectives? An adjective is a word used to describe or give more information about a noun. 1.1.Defining adjectives by its form. Adjectives in English have the same form for singular and plural, masculine and feminine. The only exceptions are the demonstrative adjectives this/that, which change to these/those in the plural. 1.2. Adjectives are attributive when they precede or follow the noun they qualify: A large apartment is usually expensive The adjective attributes a quality or characteristic to the noun. The beautiful portrait Adjectives are predicative when they predicate with the verb to be or other verbs of incomplete predication like: become, appear, seem, look (appear). 2.Classification of adjectives. 2.1.Traditional classification. There are many possible classifications of adjectives. Thomson and Martinets is a traditional, clear and simple one. They say that the main kinds are: Demonstrative: this, that, these, those Distributive: each, every ,either ,neither Quantitative: some, any, no ,little ,few, many etc. Possessive: my, your, etc. Interrogative: which, what, whose, etc. Of quality: clear, wet, big, square, pretty etc. A qualifying adjective serves to single out one quality, which may be ascribed to several things. 2.2.According to the syntactic function they can perfom. a) both attributive and predicative: a hungry woman/ this woman is hungry. b) Attributively only: joint efforts, an utter fool c) Predicatively only: he stood alone 2.3.From a semantic point of view. -Stative or dynamic: Stative does not imply change, they cannot be used with the progressive aspect or with the imperative. Dynamic adjectives refers to transitory conditions of behaviour or activity: He is tall (stative), Be careful (dynamic )

2 -Gradable / non-gradable: Gradable adjectives can be modified by adverbs which convey the degree of intensity of the adjective. Non-gradable adjectives does not admit such modifications. A tall boy ( gradable) The previous page ( non-gradable) 3.Comparison of adjectives. There are three degrees of comparison in English: positive( dark, useful), comparative (darker, more useful ) and superlative (darkest, most useful ) 3.1.Form. The comparative and superlative are formed by adding the suffixes -er, -est or by means of the adverbs more and most. a) -er and -est are used with: monosyllables (darker, darkest),and two syllable adjectives ending in a vocalic sound(na rrow,pretty),in a syllabic l (simple, simpler, simplest),in -ly ( silly, silliest, sillier) or having the stress on the last syllable (polite, politer, politest) b) we use more and most with: all longer words, especially if ending in a hard group of consonants (ridiculous) and in two-syllable adjectives ending in -ful and -re (doubtful) 3.2.Some spelling notes. a)Adjectives ending in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the final consonant: fat/ fatter/fattest b)Adjectives ending in a mute -e , add -r and -est: brave/braver/bravest c)Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, the -y becomes -I and they add er/ est: pretty/prettier/prettiest 3.3.Irregular comparisons. Good/well better best Bad/ill/evil worse worst Old older oldest elder eldest little less least many/much more most far farther farthest further furthest 3.4.Comparing structures. With the positive form. For an equal comparison we use asas instead of more.than. In the negative we use not so/as..as. Shes always as busy as a bee Its not so/as dangerous as you think With the comparative form: a) Superiority ( -er / more.than) Its quicker than you may think. This one is more interesting than the other. b) Inferiority: less.than. The film is less interesting than the novel.

3 c) Gradual increase: (.and.) Its used to indicate continuing change we repeat the comparative word with and.In these kind of sentences we cannot use a than-construction: Im getting fatter and fatter. The more he reads, the less he understands The sooner the better With the superlative form. Relative comparative. When comparing only two things, we use the comparative forms: Mary is prettier of the two girls When comparing more than two things we use the superlative forms: Its the most interesting of his books. of is replaced by in to name the group or sphere within which the comparison is made : She is the most intelligent girl in her class 3.4.4.Other comparing structures. a)as and like. She walked like a queen( the way she walked) She walked as a queen( she was a queen) b) enough and too: They indicate sufficiency and excess. The norm to which they make reference is indicated by a to-infinitive clause or by a for-clause. He is old enough to drink He is too old to drive The flat is too expensive for them 4.Word order of adjectives. Adjectives usually precede the noun they qualify:

An incredible story

However, sometimes the adjective goes after the noun they modifies. a) when the head of the noun phrase is a unit of measurement premodified by a numeral, and when the adjective describes size or dimension: two feet high sixteen years old five centimetres wide b) in forms of address indicating rank, position, etc Attorney General The more precise adjective is placed nearest the noun. A dry West wind However, it is not always easy to decide which adjective is more precise. The table bellow will serve as a general guide but will not always represent the order you will find in English texts. General mental physical age colour origin material noun Beautiful Intelligent Tall Old Red Dutch Oil dress