Better Ways to Teach and Learn Interrogative and Numerical Adjectives

Total
0
Shares

The difference between pronouns and adjectives is that interrogative/numerical pronouns are used to replace nouns while interrogative/numerical adjectives qualify nouns. In this article, we shall discuss interrogative adjectives and numerical adjectives.

Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives are forms of pronominal adjectives qualifying the nouns that follow

them. They are words consisting of WH types of questions such as whose, which, and what.

Interrogative adjectives pre-modify the headwords of the sentences.

Rudiments of Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives must determine or qualify nouns. Consider the features below.

[Whose?]

1. The interrogative adjective ‘whose’ can pre-modify a singular noun. For example:

(i) Whose book is this?

(ii) Whose car was that?

2. The interrogative adjective ‘whose’ can also pre-modify a plural noun. For example:

(i) Whose credentials are these?

(ii) Whose classes have been damaged?

[Which?]

1. The interrogative adjective ‘which’ can pre-modify a singular noun. For example:

(i) Which novel have you read?

(ii) Which bag are you talking about?

2. The interrogative adjective ‘which’ can also pre-modify a plural noun. For example:

(i) Which chairs will you bring?                                 

(ii) Which universities do you prefer?

[What?]

1. The interrogative adjective ‘what’ can pre-modify a singular noun. For example:

(i) What statement is that?

(ii) What mess was this?

2. The interrogative adjective ‘what’ can also pre-modify a plural noun. For example:

(1) What facilities are there?

(ii) What steps will you take now?

Important Things to Note

  1. In terms of meaning, interrogative adjectives qualifying singular nouns denote one entity, but those who are qualifying plural nouns denote more than one Examine the following illustrations:

(i)         Which bag are you talking about?

The speaker refers to one of the other bags.

(ii)        Which universities do you prefer?

The speaker here is referring to more than one university.

(iii)       Whose book is this?

The speaker in the sentence above is referring to only one book.

(iv)       Whose classes have been damaged?

Here, the speaker is referring to more than one damaged class.

(v)        What facilities are there?

Here, the speaker is referring to different facilities; not a particular facility.

  1. It should be noted that if an interrogative adjective qualifies as a singular noun, then it must be followed by a singular verb. Consider the following examples:

(i)         Whose book is this?           Don’t say: ‘Whose book are…?’

(ii)        Which novel was  that?         Don’t say:  ‘Which novel were…?’

(iii)       What mess was thus?            Don’t say:  ‘What mess are…?

  1. Note also that if an interrogative adjective qualifies as a plural noun, then it should be followed by a plural verb. Consider the examples below.
READ ALSO:  Best Approaches to Teaching Vowel Sounds: Lecture 1

(i.) Which books are these?  Don’t say: ‘Which books is….?’

(ii) What novels were those? Don’t say:  ‘What novels was…?’                                       

(iii) Whose women were these? Don’t say: ‘Whose women was…?

B. Numerical Adjectives

Numerical adjectives are pronominal adjectives that qualify the nouns they precede. They

express, as the name suggests, the number or the position occupied in a scheme. Numerical

adjectives are classified into two types, namely:

Two Types of Numerical Adjectives 

(1) Cardinals

(2) Ordinals

Cardinals: Cardinals are described as numbers in form of counting. They express the particular numbers of people, things, places, etc. Examples of cardinals are as follows: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, etc. Numerical adjectives and nouns they qualify can take the positions of subjects, objects, or complements in the sentences. Examine the illustrations below.

1. Cardinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of subjects, e.g.

(i)         Two students are fighting each other.

(ii)        Five boys are enough.

(iii)       Nine employees often come to the office.

(iv)       Three politicians died yesterday.

There are two essential aspects to consider in the examples above. First, the cardinals as well as the nouns they qualify occur in the subject positions, and most importantly, the cardinals (as adjectives) express the following:

(i)         Two indicates the number of students it qualifies.

(ii)        Five indicates the number of boys it qualifies.

(iii)       Nine indicates the number of employees it qualifies.

(iv)     Three indicates the number of the ticians it qualifies.

2. Cardinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of objects, e.g.

(i)  I need seven men.

(ii) I will flog four students today.

(iii) Tunji bought     t    textbooks.

(iv) They gave me six oranges.

Cardinals as well as the nouns they qualify take the positions of the objects in the sentences above. The cardinals as adjectives perform the following functions:

(i)         Seven identifies the number of men it qualifies.

(ii)        Four identifies the number of students it qualifies.

(iii)       Eight identifies the number of the books it qualifies.

(iv)       Six identifies the number of oranges it qualifies.

(C)   Cardinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of complements, e.g.

(i)    They are five people.

(ii)   They were ten children.

(iii)  They are twelve disciples.

(D) Cardinals with the nouns they qualify appear in the positions of complements. Also, they perform the functions below.

(i)     Five shows the number of the le it qualifies.

(ii)    Ten shows the number of the chil it qualifies.

(iii)    Twelve shows the number of the iples it qualifies.

  1. Cardinals as the pre-modifiers of the headwords in phrases, e.g.
READ ALSO:  The Secret to Learn Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions Better

(i)         One                 ruler

(ii)        Four                 chairs

(iii)       Two                 books

(iv)       Nine                spoons

(v)        Seven              teachers

Using numerical adjectives with nouns changes them to noun phrases. Study the following examples:

(i)         One pre-modifies ruler and becomes one ruler.

(ii)        Four pre-modifies chairs and becomes four chairs.

(iii)       Two pre-modifies books becomes two books.

(iv)       Nine pre-modifies spoons and becomes nine spoons.

(v)        Seven pre-modifies teachers and becomes seven teachers.

Essentials Tips to Note

(1)        You should note that in some cases, the article ‘the’ may be possible before cardinals. For example:

(i)         Four students or The four students

(ii)        Three boys or The three boys

(2)        Also the cardinals, apart from (one), are plurals. So, they must be used with plural verbs. Look at the examples below.

(i)         Two students are fighting each other.

(ii)        Six employees always come to the office.

(iii)       Three politicians were here.

It is not correct to say:

(i)   ‘Two students is…’

(ii)  ‘Six employees always comes…’

(iii) ‘Three politicians was…’

  1. Ordinals: Ordinals are described as the number indicating positions. Ordinals show the position of persons, places, things, etc. Some of their examples include first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, etc. Ordinals with the nouns they qualify can take the positions of subject, object, and complement. Consider the following illustrations.

(a)        Ordinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of subjects.

(i)         the Second batch will be more interesting than this.

(ii)        Third-party has now interfered in the matter.

(iii)       Sixth position is weak.

(iv)       the Fifth anniversary is going to be exciting tomorrow.

In the examples above, ordinals, as well as the nouns, ear in the subject positions and they also perform the following functions:

(i)         Second indicates the position of the batch.

(ii)        Third indicates the position of the party.

(iii)       Sixth indicates the position of position.

(iv)       Fifth indicates the position of the anniversary.

(b)        Ordinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of objects, e.g.

(i)         I love the first boy.

(ii)        Sola preferred the fourth batch to the third one.

(iii)       Okocha did not play in the second half of the match.                                                         (iv)       I hate the third radio you bought.

In the sentences above, ordinals as well as the nouns they modify appear in the object positions, and they also perform the following functions:

READ ALSO:  How to Explain and Learn Descriptive Adjectives Better

(i)     First indicates the position of the boy.

(ii)     Fourth indicates the position of the batch.

(iii)    Second indicates the position of the half.

(iv)    Third indicates the position of the radio.

(c) Ordinals as well as the nouns they qualify in the positions of complements, e.g.

(i)    This is the second term.

(ii)    These children are the first people here.

(iii)   Those students were the fifth set being admitted to this school.

In the sentences above, ordinals perform the function below.

The second shows the position of the term.

First shows the position of people.

Fifth shows the position of sets.

(d)  Ordinals as pre-modifiers of the headwords in phrases, e.g.

(i)         First                 term

(ii)        Second               table  

(iii)       Third               party

(iv)       Fourth             part

Using numerical adjectives with nouns changes the group of words to noun phrases. Consider the examples below.

When the first pre-modifies term, it becomes the first term.

When the second pre-modifies table, it becomes the second table.

When a third pre-modifies party, it becomes a third party.

When the fourth pre-modifies part, it becomes the fourth part.

Essentials Tips to Note

(1) It should be noted that the article (the) is possible before ordinals if the speaker is specific about his/her expression. Consider the examples:

(i)         The first television you bought is more expensive.

(ii)        The second goalkeeper of the Nigerian team is good.

In the two sentences above, the speaker is specific about the particular television he or she bought. Also, in the second sentence, the speaker is particular about the goalkeeper he or she is talking about, not all goalkeepers, but that of the Nigerian team.

(2)  When ordinals with certain nouns are used as hyphenated adjectives which qualify another noun, the article (a) is used before any hyphenated adjective qualifying singular noun. For example:

(i)  Sulaimon bought a second-hand car.

(ii)  It is a first-hand ceiling fan.

If the nouns they qualify are plurals, then there is no need for the article (a). For example:

(i)  Sulaimon bought second-hand cars.

(ii)  They are first-hand ceiling fans.

It is wrong to say:

‘…a second-hand cars.’

‘…a first-hand ceiling fans.

Or

‘…bought second-hand car.’

‘…is first-hand ceiling fan.’

(3)  Note that the ordinals are singular forms, so they should be used with singular verbs. For example:

(i)         The second goalkeeper is around. Not are.

(ii)        The third party has interfered in the matter. Not have.

(iii)       The first child usually carries the burden of the family. Not carry.

Author: Deola Adelakun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like