Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:28





Sentence is an independent unit of expression, made up of two parts called subject and predicate. In writing, a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a stop, question, or exclamation marks.


1. The Two Main Parts of a Sentence

(A) Subject is the naming part of the sentence about which something is said or reported. It may be a word or phrase.


  1. Anil Kumble is our test cricket captain now.
  2. Forests are our real wealth.
  3. The oldest hostel of the University collapsed last night.

(B) The Predicate: This part of the sentence is the part that speaks about the subject. It includes complement too.

The oldest hostel of the University collapsed last night. A noted specialist will perform the operation.

Complements : A complement is a word or words needed to complete the meaning.

Not: A subject, predicate (verb), or complement may be compound; that is, it may have two or more parts joined by and, or, or but.


Poems and stories delight and edify children, teenagers and adults.

Subject : Poems and stories

Predicate Delight and edify children, teenagers and adults.

Complement Children, teenagers and adults.

2. The Sentence Pattern.

The usual sentence pattern is subject + Verb _ int complement (SVO/C). but this order is changed in questions and exclamations.


1. Sreenath bowls aggressively

S            V        complement

Does he bowl aggressively?

How aggressively he bowls!


3. Ways of Classifying Sentences


(A) By Purpose

Declarative (a statement): The engine won’t start.

Interrogative (a question): Will the engine start?

Imperative (a command or request): Start the engine.

Exclamatory (an expression of emotion): What a bulky engine this is!


(B) By Structure, According to the number and kinds of clauses they contain. A sentence may be simple, compound or complex.



Different words used in a sentence have different functions. According to these function, words can be classified into 8 categories. No word has a fixed category. Its category depends upon its function in a sentence. These eight categories are called


Parts of Speech

1. Noun – A noun is a word used as the name of a person, place or thing.

e.g. – Ram, Sheep, Delhi, rose etc.


2. Pronoun A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun.

e.g. – he, she, you, I, we, it, they, etc.


3. Adjective – An adjective is a word used to add something to the meaning of a noun (or a pronoun). An adjective qualifies a noun or a pronoun.

e.g. – a good boy, a fast train, five coins, poor performance


4. Verb – A verb is a word used to say something about some person, place or thing. It denotes action & its time

e.g. – He went to school; He is dumb.


5. Adverb An adverb is a word used to add something to the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

e.g. – He worked hard;l He came suddenly; She is very slow.


6. Preposition – A preposition is a word used with a noun or a pronoun to show how the person or thing denoted the noun or pronoun stands in relation to something else.

e.g. – on the road, in the house, By courtesy, with him, etc.


7. Conjunction – A conjunction is a word which is used to join words., phrases, clauses and sentences to one another.

e.g. – Man and woman; Through thick and thin; He ran fast but missed the train.


8. Interjection – An interjection is a word which expresses some sudden feeling.

e.g. – Alas! Hurrah, Oh!




1. Plural Nouns

Some nouns are used in plural sense. Some of them are given below. They take plural verbs. They cannot be used as singular nouns by removing s.

Examples –

alms, riches, caves, species, scissors, trousers, pants, clippers, tongs, bellows, gallows, fangs, measles, eyeglasses, goggles, amends, annals, archives, ashes, arrears, athletics, auspices, belongings, breeches, bowles, braces, binoculars, billiards, congratulations, dregs, earnings, entrails, embers, fetters, fireworks, lodgings lees, mumps, odds, outskirts, particulars, proceeds, proceedings, regards, remains, savings, shambles, shears, spectacles, surroundings, tidings, troops, thanks, tactics, vegetables, valuables, wages, works, innings.


2. Singular Nouns

Some nouns are always used in the singular number.


Poetry, scenery, machinery, machinery, stationary, crockery, luggage, baggage, postage, knowledge, breakage, jewellery, information, furniture, money, wastage.


  1. I don’t travel with heavy luggage.
  2. The letter is short of postage.

Note: If it is necessary to indicate the singular or the plural number of these nouns, the method is : (A) for singular number, we say a piece of, an item of, an article of, and (b) for plural number we use pieces of, items of, articles of, kinds of, etc. These phrases are placed before these nouns, but the noun is retained in the singular number.



(i) I have a piece of information for you.

(ii) I don’t like this article of stationary.



(i) I want only a few articles of stationary.

(ii) All kinds of furniture are available here.


3. Nouns Plural in Form but Singular in Use

There are some nouns which are plural in form but singular in usage. They always take a singular verb. They are news, innings, physics, politics, mathematics, mechanics, ethics, economics, etc.


  1. No news is good news.
  2. Politics is the game of fortune hunters.


4. Nouns Singular in Form but Plural in Use

There are some nouns which are singular in form but plural in meaning. They always take a plural verb. They are cattle, gentry, clergy, cavalry, infantry, nobility, peasantry, children etc. Family is used both in the singular and plural numbers according to sense.


The Indian peasantry are still backward.

The gentry have already arrived.


(1) Since these nouns are used only in plural number (though singular in form), they should not be made plural by adding- S or – es. For example, the following sentence is wrong. Our poultries are healthy; the gentries have come.

(2) The following nouns remain the same in both singular and plural numbers and they can be used both as singular and plural in the same from. They should not be made plural by adding – S or –es. They are – swine, vermit, mankind, police public etc.

(3) ‘People’ in the sense of group of persons is always used it the plural number. But when the word people is used in the sense of a nation, it can be used both as singular (the people and plural as – ‘The peoples of India Pakistan are o friendly terms’.


5. Noun with Numerical Adjective

Some nouns coming after definite numerical adjective ar always used in the singular number. They are dozen, score, gross, stone, hundred, thousands, million, billion.


Two Pair or socks (not two pairs of socks), two million people etc.


Dozen of books, hundreds of workers etc.


6. Numerical Adjective + Hyphen + Noun

If a compound word is formed by joining a definite number adjective and a noun (by a hyphen);, the noun so used wi always be in the singular number.


He fell down from a ten-foot high wall.

A five-judge bench will hear this case.


7. Noun + Preposition + The Same Noun Repeated

If the same noun is repeated before and after a preposition the noun is used in the singular number each time. In such cases the verb is also used in the singular number.


Anu knocked from door to door for help.

‘Anu knocked from doors to doors for help’ is wrong.


8. Article + Several Adjectives + Noun

If two or more than two adjectives are connected with and and the article has been used only before the first adjective, the noun used after them will be in the plural number. But if the article is used before each adjective the noun will be in the singular number.


  1. There is no police picket in the first and last lanes.
  2. There is no mistake in the tenth, eleventh and the twentieth page.


9. Numerical Adjective + Noun + Fraction

If a numerical adjective and a fraction (a half, a quarter, the quarters etc) are to be used with a noun, the structure of the sentence will be as follows.

He reached late by one hour and a quarter.

The sentence ‘He reached late by one and quarter hours’ is wrong.

Noun is used after the numerical adjective and the number of the noun is singular or plural according to the numerical adjective (i.e. the noun is singular with a/an/one, and plural with two, three, etc.) and after the noun the fractions (as a half, and a quarter, and three quarters, etc.) should be used.


I have two hours and a quarter at my disposal.

Note: If a numeral adjective and a fraction are joined by and and they are used in the sense of multiplication, the noun is placed after them, and the noun is always used in the plural number.


My income has risen one and half times.


10. Adjectives Used as Plural Nouns

Some adjectives preceded by the are used as plural nouns.


The rich are not always merciless.


11. Nouns/Pronouns of Common Gender (Dual Gender)

Some nouns are of common gender, i.e. they can be used both as masculine or feminine genders.


Child, baby, friend, student, teacher, lecture, professor pupil, artist, author, reader, servant, worker, poet, speaker, writer, typist, engineer, lawyer, advocate, client, clerk, conductor, musician, politician, minister, leader, dealer, secretary, enemy, parent, cousin, orphan, neighbor, person, president, monarch, statesman, public man, sportsman., spokesperson, chairperson.


She is a good teacher.

‘She is a good lady teacher’ is wrong

Note: (i) Some grammarian hold that nouns of common gender which have-man joined with them should not be used with feminine gender nouns. Such a use would appear odd.


She is a sportsman/ chairman/ spokesman/ publicman/ statesman.

In such cases – person has come to be used in place of man.

Common Gender Pronoun


Which of the following pronouns (his or her) is correct?

Every teacher should do her duty.

Or, every teacher should do her duty.

In all such cases third person, masculine gender (his) should be used.


  1. No student should waste his time.

Both genders can be connected with or (his or her).

Every teacher should do his or her duty.





Coming out of the Cinema Hall, Amrita’s wallet was stolen. When a sentence begins with a participial phrase (a phrase that starts with a verb ending in ing), that phrase is supposed to modify the noun or pronoun immediately following ti.

1. Change the second half of the sentence so that the noun or pronoun that comes after the participial phrase is actually what the phrase is supposed to refer to.

Coming out of the Cinema Hall, Amrita was robbed of her wallet.


2. Change the first half of the sentence into an adverbial clause (which contains its own subject) so that it is no longer necessary for the first half of the sentence to modify the noun that follows it.

As Amrita was coming out of the Cinema Hall, her wallet was stolen.

More: Whenever a sentence begins with a modifying phrase that’s followed by a comma. The noun or pronoun right after the comma should be what the phrase is referring to.


1. Written in 1933, Harivansh Rai Bachchan scored in a literary hit with his poetic book, Madhushala. (misplaced)

2. Written in 1933, Madhushala, the poetic book by Harivaansh Rai Bachchan, was a literary hit. (rightly placed)

More: In sentence 1: the sentence begins with a modifying phrase which does not modify what it is supposed to. i.e. ‘Harivansh Rai Bachchan’. It is a misplaced modifier. In sentence 2: the noun that follows the modifying phrase refere to it.





Pronouns are classified into personal, demonstrative, interrogative, indefinite, relative, reflexive and intensive categories.


A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing and changes its form to indicate person, number, gender, and case.

Personal Pronouns (Subjective case)

A subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the sentence. They are ‘I’ ‘you,’ ‘she, ‘he’, ‘it,’ ‘we,’ ‘you,’ ‘they’.


  • I was running to catch the bus.
  • You are the most intelligent child I have ever met.
  • When he was a you, he earned his living as a coal miner.
  • After many years, they returned to their homeland.

Personal Pronouns (Objective case)

An objective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object of a verb, compound verb, preposition, or infinitive phrase. They are: me, you,, her, him, it, us, you, and them.


  1. 1. Our leader will address you in five minutes.’ (you is the direct object of the verb address).
  2. 2. Devang and Rita will meet us at the Tabaki’s café. (‘us’ is the direct object of the compound verb ‘will meet’).
  3. 3. Give the list me. (‘me’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’.
  4. 4. I was surprised to see her at the races. (‘her’ is the object of the infinitive phrase ‘to see’).

Possessive Pronouns:

A possessive pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as a possessor owner of a particular object or person. They are ‘mine,’ yours,’ ‘hers,’ ‘his’ ‘its,’ ‘ours,’ and ‘theirs.’ The possessive pronouns are similar to possessive adjectives like ‘my,’ ‘her’, and ‘their’.

1. The smallest gift is mine. (‘mine’ functions as a subject complement).

2. This mistake is yours.

3. I have explained everything, now the choice is theirs.



A demonstrative pronoun points to and identifies a noun. ‘This’ and ‘these’ refer to things that are nearby either in space or in time, while ‘that’ and ‘those’ refer to things that are farther away in space or time. The demonstrative pronouns are ‘this’ ‘that’, ‘these,’ and ‘those.’ ‘This’ and ‘that’ are used to refer to singular nouns or noun phrases and ‘these’ and ‘those’ are used to refer to plural nouns and noun phrases. The demonstrative pronouns are identical to demonstrative adjectives, though, obviously, you use them differently. It is also important to note that ‘that’ can also be used as a relative pronoun.


  • That is incredible! (referring to something you just saw)
  • I will never forget this (referring to a recent experience)
  • Such is my belief. (referring to an explanation just made)
  • These are the basics of driving (set of tips)



An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun referring to an identifiable but not specified person or thing. An indefinite pronoun conveys the idea of all, any, none, or some. The most common indefinite pronouns are ‘all,’ ‘another,’ ‘any,’ ‘anybody,’ anyone,’ ‘anything,’ ‘each,’ ‘everybody,’ ‘everyone,’ ‘few,’ ‘nobody,’ ‘non,’ ‘one,’ ‘several’, ‘some,’ ‘somebody,’ and ‘someone.’ Note that some indefinite pronouns can also be used as indefinite adjectives.

  • Many were invited to the lunch but only twelve showed up.
  • The office had been searched and everything we found in the attic to the woman’s shelter garage sale.
  • We donated everything we found in the attic to the woman’s shelter garage sale.
  • Although they looked everywhere for extra copies of the magazine, they found none.
  • Make sure you give everyone a copy of the amend bylaws.
  • Give a registration package to each.



A relative pronoun is used to link one phrase or clause another phrase or clause. The relative pronouns are “why,’ ‘whom,’ ‘that,’ and ‘which.’ The expanded form of the relative pronouns – whoever, whomever, whatever – are know as indefinite relative pronouns.

“Who” and “whoever” refer to the subject of a clause sentence, and ‘whom’ and ‘whom’ and ‘whomever’ refer to the object of a verb or a preposition.

  • You may invite whomever you like to the party.
  • The candidate who wins the greatest popular vote is not always elected. (subject of the verb ‘wins’) and introduces the subordinate clause ‘who wins the greatest popular vote’. This subordinate clause acts as an adjective modifying ‘candidate’.
  • Whoever broke the window will have to replace (functions as the subject of the verb ‘broke)’.
  • The create which was left in the corridor has now bee moved into the storage closet. (the subject of the compound verb ‘was left’ and introduces the subordinate clause ‘whichever manuscript arrives first.’ The subordinate clause functions as the direct object of compound verb ‘will read.’



A reflexive pronoun refers back the subject of the clause sentence.

The reflexive pronouns are ‘myself’, ‘yourself’, ‘herself’, ‘himself’, ‘itself,’ ‘ourselves,’ ‘yourselves,’ and ‘themselves.’ Each of these can also act as an intensive pronoun.

  • Diabetics give themselves insulin shorts several times a day. (refers back to diabetes)
  • The Dean often does the photocopying herself so that the secretaries can do more important work.
  • After the party, I asked myself why I had faxed invitations to everyone in my office building.
  • Although the landlord promised to paint the apartment, we ended up doing it ourselves.



An intensive pronoun is a pronoun used to emphasize its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are identical in form to reflexive pronouns.


  • I myself believe that Anu can complete the job in time.
  • The Prime Minister himself said that he would take care of taxpayers.
  • The Prime Minister himself said that he would take care of taxpayers.
  • They themselves promise to come to the match even though they had an important meeting at the same time.



An interrogative pronoun is used to ask questions. These are ‘who,’ ‘whom,’ ‘which,’ ‘what,’ and the compounds formed with the suffix ‘ever (‘whoever,’ whomever’, ‘whichever,’ and ‘whatever’).

Note: ‘Which’ and ‘what’ can be used as an interrogative adjective, and ‘who,’ ‘whom,’ and ‘which,’ can also be used as a relative pronoun.

‘Who,’ whom’, and occasionally ‘which’ refer to people, and ‘which’ and ‘what’ refer to things and to animals.

Not: ‘Who’ acts as the subject of a verb, while ‘whom’ acts as the object of a verb, preposition, or a verbal.


  • Who wants to see the dentist first?
  • Who wrote the novel Rockbound?
  • Whom do you think we should invite?
  • To whom do you wish to speak? (‘whom’ is the object of the preposition ‘to.’)
  • Who will meet the delegates at the train station? (‘who’ is the subject of the compound verb ‘will meet’)
  • What did she say/ (object of the verb ‘say.’)



The reciprocal pronouns are ‘each other’ and ‘one another’

Bhaskar gave Ritu a book on her birthday. Ritu gave Bhaskar a book on his birthday, we can say that they gave each other books (or that they gave books to each other).

  • My sister and I give each other a great time.
  • They borrowed each other’s ideas.
  • The scientists in this lab often use one another’s equipment.




1. It must have the same number, person and gender as that of the noun for which it has been used.

E.g. Rakhi has completed her work.


2. Nominative pronouns are used as the subject of a verb. (He, She, I, You, We, They are in the nominative form)

E.g. We are talking.


3. If a verb ‘to be’ has a pronoun for its complement the pronoun must be used in the nominative form.

E.g. It is he (not him) who will give you the notes.

Note: in exclamatory and predicative, personal pronoun can be used in the objective from.


4. If a personal pronoun is the object of a verb or a preposition it must be used in the objective from. (Me, Us, Him, Them, Her, You are in the objective from.

E.g. She depends upon him (not he)


5. If pronouns of different persons are to be used with the same verb, they must be used in the following order.

(Second person) should come first. (third person) come next, and I (first person) should come last.

E.g. You, he and I are classmates.

B. in plural number – We + You + They

E.g. We, you and they were in the same college.

Note: If the sentence is expressive of some error or fault, the order should be thus

I/We + You + He/They

E.g. I and you and he have to accept our fault.


6. With a collective noun, pronoun is used in singular or plural according to the sense. In singular we use it/its and in plural they/them.

E.g. The jury has given its verdict. (singular)

The jury are divided in their opinion. (plural)


7. When two or more nouns are jointed by and, the pronoun used for them is always plural.

E.g. Shyam and his friends have completed their work.


8. When two or more nouns are joined by and, and before each noun there come each or every, the pronoun used is always singular.

E.g. Each clerk and typist has left his/her seat.


9. Each, either, neither always take singular verb and singular possessive.

E.g. Each of them is sure to get his rank.

Neither of the students has corrected his homework.


10. Either and neither are used for two things only

E.g. You can choose either of these two shirts.

Neither of the two sisters was selected.


11. When more than two things are referred to we use anyone in place of either and none in place of neither.

E.g. Anyone of these three girls can dance with me.

None of these ten students passed.


12. Each other is used for two things or persons, and one another for more than two.

E.g. The two brothers help each other.

All the five brothers help one another.

The two wheels rub against each other.

Now-a-days, there is no strict pattern of use of each other and one another. These can be even interchangeable.

E.g. These three friends really love each other.

Let us all help each other.


13. Both is used for two, and all for more than two.

E.g. Both the apples are good (only two apples)

All the pencils are red. (more than two)


14. When two or more than two nouns are joined with or, either ….or, neither….nor, the pronoun used for them is always singular.

E.g. Arun or Sunil has lost his purse.

Either the doctor or his assistant will be in his clinic.

Ravi nor Ram has done his work.


15. When a singular noun and a plural noun are joined by or/nor, the pronoun used for them is always plural.

E.g. Either principal or the teacher had neglected their duty. Neither the sons nor their father had kept their promise.


16. When more than one pronoun are of different persons, and only one pronoun is later to be used for them, there should be first plural for first + third, again first plural for first + second, and second person for second + third etc.

E.g. You and I have done our duty

You and she must stick to your work.


17. The pronoun used after than or as is the short form of a whole clause. Thus, the full form of ‘I am taller than he will be ‘I am taller than he is’

E.g. I am as strong as he (is)

He loves you more than I (love you).

Note: In sentences containing the verbs of incomplete predication pronouns of objective form can also be used in place of nominative from after than or as.

E.g. He is younger than me.


18. Pronoun it is used for

(i) Inanimate things

E.g. This is your flat. It is a big flat.


(ii) Small animals, birds and insects.

E.g. There is a rat. It is black.


(iii) Every little child (gender not intended)

E.g. The child has wetted its napkin.


(iv) Such statements as have already been referred to earlier.

E.g. He answered the question; as he knew it.


(v) The imaginary subject of the verb ‘to be’, while its real subject come later.

E.g. It is difficult to solve the problem.


(vi) Laying emphasis on some noun or pronoun which comes after it.

E.g. It was you who first came here.


(vii) An imaginary or uncertain nominative of an impersonal verb.

E.g. It blows.


(viii) Referring to weather or time.

E.g. It is 10 O’clock.


19. It is only an imaginary nominative while this is a real nominative, or gives some definite reference or information about the real nominative. This is used to give the name introduction or any other information about someone. It is used for weather, season, or some impersonal subject. This refers to a person, thing, any specific information or quality, or nearness/closeness.

E.g. This is a crow.


20. Who is used in the nominative case only for persons, both in the singular and plural numbers. Who is not used for inanimate things? For animals also who is not generally used.

E.g. He is the thief who was caught red-handed.


21. Whom used only for persons in the objective/accusative case both in singular and plural numbers.

E.g. The girl whom I gave the notes has secured first division


22. Which is used for animals and inanimate things.

E.g. The house which has a high gate is mine.

Note: In prepositional case the preposition is always used before which.

E.g. The post for which I applied is permanent.


23. Whose is used in possessive case both for persons and animals.

E.g. The girl whose hair is long is my sister.


24. That

(A) That is used both for animate and inanimate things both in singular and plural numbers.

That has no possessive/genitive case and therefore no preposition can be used before it. If it is very necessary to use a preposition, it can be placed at the end of the sentence. In such a case the sentence can be completed without that also.

E.g. I have lost the ring that you gave me.


(B) In the following cases the use of that is preferred to that of who or which as–

(i) After the superlative degree.

E.g. Gandhi was the greatest man that modern India produced.


(ii) After these words – all, same, any, none, nothing, only, anything, anybody, nobody, little, somebody, no one.

E.g. She is the same girl that danced yesterday.


(iii) After interrogative pronoun who/what

E.g. What is it that troubles you so much?


25. What

Relative pronoun what is used for things only. It is used without an antecedent, and it means that which.

E.g. What I told you is true.


26. Sometimes but is used as a relative pronoun, in this case it means ‘who not/which not’.

E.g. There is no problem but can be solved.


27. Compound Relative Pronouns

These are – whoever, whoso, whoso-ever, whomsoever, whichever, whatever, whatsoever.

They are used without antecedents.

E.g. You can write whatever you like.


28. Agreement of The Relative Pronoun with its Antecedent

A relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in number person. The verb is also used according to the same number and person.

E.g. Students who are intelligent are loved by teachers.


29. The relative pronoun that can be omitted.

E.g. The picture (that) I saw yesterday was good.


30. As is always used after such, and the same

E.g. My car is the same as yours.


31. In the restricted sense/choice which can be used both for persons and things.

E.g. Which of them is you book.

Which boy is bullying you.


32. If in a certain sentence the same comes before a noun, the same noun is suggested by as or that in the following clause.

E.g. This is the same car that we sold to Rakesh.


33. Nowadays, specially in conversational language, who is being used in the objective form in place of whom.

E.g. Who did you talk to?

(who has been used in place of whom who or whom are both correct).


34. Mine, ours, yours, theirs, his are called independent possessives.

No noun is used after them.

E.g. This book is mine/yours.


35. One is an indefinite pronoun. It is used in its own form in all the three cases. In nominative and objective cases it is used as one, in possessive case it is one’s and in reflexive from it is oneself. It is wrong to use personal pronoun with it.

E.g. One should mind one’s (not his or her) own business.


36. Reflexive pronouns are formed by the adding of self or selves. They are – himself, herself, yourself, yourselves, themselves, myself, ourselves, itself. They emphasise the statement.

E.g. I can do it myself.

No machine can move by itself.


37. Interrogative pronouns:

(i) What is used for inanimate things.

E.g. What is that?


(ii) What is used for persons also when the question is about their position or profession.

E.g. What is he?


(iii) Who, whose, whom are used for person. Who is used in the nominative case, whom in the objective case, and whose in possessive case.


(iv) Which is used for persons and things in restricted choice.


(v) Sometimes it becomes essential to use some preposition with which or what. In such a situation the preposition is placed at the end of the sentence, not at the beginning.

E.g. Which book you are searching for?





Adjectives are words that describe or modify a person or thing in a sentence. It is a word that is used to add something to the noun.


  • The ship-shaped balloon floated over the treetops.
  • Mrs. Mehta was papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper.
  • The small boat foundered on the wine dark sea.
  • The coal mines are dark and dank.
  • Many stores have already begun to play irritating Christmas music.



Adjectives nearly always appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify. When indefinite pronouns-such as something, someone, anybody are modified by an adjective, the adjective comes after the pronoun: Example: Anyone capable of doing something horrible to someone nice should be punished. And there are certain adjectives that, in combination with certain words, are used after the thing they modify.


The president elect, heir apparent to the Glitzy fortune, lives in New your proper.



(i) Descriptive Adjectives or Adjectives of Quality

Such adjectives show the kind or quality of a person or thing.


Delhi is large city.

He is an honest man.


(ii) Possessive Adjectives


A possessive adjective (‘my,’ ‘your,’ ‘his,’ ‘her,’ ‘its,’ ‘our,’ ‘their,’) is similar or identical to a possessive pronoun; however, it is used as an adjective and modifies a noun or a noun phrase.


  • I can’t complete my assignment because I don’t have the textbook. ‘my’ modifies ‘assignment’.
  • What is your phone number? Here the possessive adjective (‘your’ modifies the noun phrase ‘phone number’).
  • The bakery sold his favourite type of bread. (the possessive adjective ‘his’ modifies the noun phrase ‘favourite type of bread’).


(iii) Demonstrative Adjectives

The demonstrative adjectives ‘this’, ‘these,’ ‘that,’ those,’ and ‘what’ are identical to the demonstrative pronouns, but are used as adjectives to modify nouns or noun phrases.


  • When the librarian tripped over that cord, she dropped a pile of books. (‘that’ modifies the noun ‘cord’).
  • This apartment needs to be fumigated. (‘this’ modifies ‘apartment’) and the noun phrase ‘this apartment’ is the subject of the sentence.

Note: Demonstrative adjectives answer the question – ‘which?’


(iv) Interrogative Adjective

An interrogative adjective (‘which’ or ‘what’) is like an interrogative pronoun, except that it modifies a noun or noun phrase.

  • Which plants should be watered twice a week? (‘which’ modifies ‘plants’).
  • What book are you reading? (‘what’ modifies ‘book’)


(v) Indefinite Adjectives/Adjectives of number

An in definitive adjectives is similar to an indefinite pronoun, except that it modifies a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase.

  • Many people believe that corporations are under-taxed. (‘man’ modifies the noun ‘people’).
  • I will send you any mail that arrives after you have moved to Delhi. (‘any’ modifies the noun ‘mail’)


Adjectives have three degrees of comparison; positive, comparative and superlative. The positive degree is the standard form of the adjective. The comparative two nouns and is formed by adding – er or more to the adjective. A superlative compares one noun to more than two and is formed by adding – est or most.  


  • Raghu is a rich man, but Aditya is richer than him. Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian.


(A) Positive Degree – Uses

1. Comparison of Equality

When equality or similarity is shown through comparison between two persons, things or qualities we use the pattern.

As + adjective + as

e.g. This book is as useful as the other one.


2. Comparison of Inequality

When inequality or dissimilarity through comparison is shown between two persons, things or qualities, we follow the following two patterns–

Not as + adjective + as or not so + adjective + as

e.g. I was not so tired as my brother

Note: If we wish to lay more emphasis on inequality, we can use quite before so.

e.g. Mukund is not quite so tall as Ambuj.


3. Concealed Comparison

In some sentences, comparison is not explicit (showing) but concealed in its sense. In such sentences we use–

not all that + adjectives.

e.g. He is not all that trustworthy.


4. Comparison of actions (verbs)

In positive degree two actions can be compared in the following ways–

(i)     By using Gerund.

e.g. Walking is as difficult as running.

(ii)    By using infinitive.

e.g. It is as difficult to walk as run

In this construction it should be remembered that the first infinitive is used with to, and the second without to.

(B) Comparative Degree


5. Comparison between Two

Comparative degree adjective is used for comparison between two persons, things or qualities.

e.g. Ram is smarter than Mohan


6. Use of ‘Than’

The connective than is used to show comparison for all adjectives except those adjectives shown below.

e.g. Sita is more beautiful than Geeta.


7. Use of ‘To’

For all adjectives of Latin origin, comparison is shown by to (not by than). The more common adjectives of Latin origin are – superior, inferior, junior, prior, anterior, posterior. Generally these adjectives end with – or, It may be remembered that ‘to’ is used after prefer/preferable also, though they are not of Latin origin.

e.g. His turn comes prior to mine (not than mine)

The adjectives of Latin origin (superior, inferior, junior, senior, prior, anterior, posterior) are already of comparative degree. Therefore, it is wrong to use such expressions as ‘more superior’ or ‘less superior’, ‘more preferable’ or less preferable’ etc.


8. Double Comparatives

Double comparatives should not be used – more cleverer; more better; more stronger; less braver; greater higher are wrong.

e.g. An elephant is stronger (not more stronger) than a horse.


9. Comparing Two Qualities

When two qualities of the same person or thing are to be compared, the comparative degree formed by – er should not be used. In their place comparative degree should be made by adding more or less to the adjective concerned.

e.g. Gautam is more good than wise (not better than wise)


10. Comparison of Number/Quantity

Fewer is used for number, and less for quantity. Fewer is always followed by countable plural noun and less by uncountable singular noun. But more can be used both for number and quantity.

e.g. He eats less butter than sugar.

I have fewer pens than pencils.


11. Comparatively + Positive Degree

If an adjective (or an adverb) has comparatively before it, the adjective (or adverb) should be used in the positive degree, not in the comparative degree.

e.g. Your problem is comparatively easy.


12. Parallel/Gradual Increase or Decrease

(a) In some sentences comparative degree adjective is split up and used in the two parts of the sentence as a balance.

(b) In such sentences, comparative degree should be used in both the parts.

e.g. The harder a man labours, the better returns he get.


13. Positive Degree + Comparative Degree

There are sentences in which both the comparative and positive adjectives are used. In such sentences, the positive degree adjective should be used with as…as (not with one as only) and comparative degree adjective with than.

e.g. His position is as bad as, if not worse than yours.


14. Emphatic Comparatives

(a) Using much/far/by far/still before the comparative degree (but not by using very)

e.g. This book is still better.


(b) Using rather

e.g. This book is rather cheaper.

(c)   Using all the.

e.g. This is all the better for me.


15. The + superlative

Article the must be used before a superlative degree adjective.

e.g. This is the longest chapter in my book

Note: But if some possessive adjective (my, our, your, his, her their) or possessive case (noun + ‘s) has come before the superlative, we don’t use the article the.

e.g. This my most favourite fish.

This is Ram’s highest ambition.


16. Three or More Nouns

Superlative adjective is used for comparison amongst at least three or more things or persons.

e.g. She is the tallest of the three (or more) sisters.


17. Superlative + ‘of/in’

Preposition of or in is used to show comparison among three or more persons or things.

e.g. He is the most scholarly of all teachers.

of is used with most of the superlative adjectives, but with the superlatives showing place in use in instead of of.

e.g. in the class, in the town etc.


18. Superlative + ‘One of/Among’

When one of or among is used with a superlative, the noun coming after it must be of plural number.

e.g. Richa is one of the best girls in the class.


19. Double Superlative

Double superlatives should not be used

e.g. Mr. Sharma is the most richest man. (wrong) Bekham is the richest footballer.


20. Emphatic Superlative

In order to give additional emphasis to a superlative adjective, we can use by far the/ much the/ the very/ out of the.

e.g. Jaipur is by far the most beautiful city.

This is the very best insatiate.


21. Adjectives of the Same Degree

If the same noun is qualified by two or more than two adjectives, all these adjective must be of the same degree.

e.g. I have the best and cheapest purse.


22. None-Degradable Adjectives

Some adjectives are already of superlative degree. They cannot be used as comparative nor can be emphasized by expressions such as very/extremely/highly/much.


Unique, perfect, matchless, excellent, ideal, absolute, universal, impossible, entire whole, full, complete, round, extreme, eternal, chief.

e.g. He is an ideal leader.

This plan is perfect


23. Like Best/Like Most

Both these uses are correct.

e.g. Which of these books do you like most?

Which of these books do you like best?


24. Kind and Sort

Kind and sort are of singular number. Therefore, this or that should be used with them, not these or those.

e.g. I don’t like this/that sort kind of men.








Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:24