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Classification of adjectives.

According to their meaning and grammatical characteristics adjectives fall under two classes: (1) qualitative adjectives, (2) relative adjectives.


1. Qualitative adjectives denote qualities of a substance directly, not through its relation to another substance, as size, shape, colour, physical and mental qualities, qualities of general estimation:

little, large, high, soft, hard, warm, white, blue, pink, strong, hold, beautiful, important, necessary, etc.


2. Relative adjectivesdenote qualities of a substance through their relation to materials (silken, woollen, wooden), to place (Italian, Asian), to time (monthly, weekly), to some action (preparatory, rotatory).

Grammatical characteristics of qualitative adjectives.

1.Most qualitative adjectives have degrees of comparison:


big bigger (the) biggest
interesting more interesting (the) most interesting


Some qualitative adjectives such as greenish, darkish, incurable, unsuitable, chief, principal, have no degrees of comparison.

2. They have certain typical suffixes, such as ‑ful, ‑less, ‑ous, ‑ent, ‑able, ‑y, ‑ish: careful, careless, dangerous, convenient, comfortable, silvery, watery, whitish, shortish.

3. From most of them adverbs can be formed by the suffix ‑ly:


graceful — gracefully

gay — gaily


4. Most qualitative adjectives can be used as attributes and predicatives.


How lovely the littleriver is, with its dark,changing wavelets! (Eliot)


The youngman was introduced, and they sat down at the table. (Aldington)


But you’re nearly as oldas I am! (Aldington) (PREDICATIVE)

The Hartlys thought he was ‘rich’.George Augustus was so very

comfortable... that he too really thought he was rich!(Aldington)


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Spelling rules. | Grammatical characteristics of relative adjectives.

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