In previous posts, we have explored other types of adjectives, such as coordinate adjectives. However, the English language has MANY grammar rules & different parts of speech. Indefinite adjectives are one of the most commonly confused terms by new writers. In this post, we’ll explore the definition of indefinite adjectives and show you how to use them correctly!
What Are Indefinite Adjectives?
Indefinite adjectives are descriptive words that can provide non-specific information about a noun. They are often used to give quantify a noun in a general or ballpark sense.
- There are some issues with our government
- There are a few basketballs in my garage.
Indefinite adjectives are effective tools for writing as they provide quick way to convey non-specific information. There are times when very detailed specific information is not needed.
- For example, nobody cares if you drank 69 fluid ounces of beer last night. Just say you had a few beers!
The most common indefinite adjectives include: all, any, anything, each, every, neither, nobody, none, nothing, one, other, some, someone, whichever, something, such, and whose.
The opposite of indefinite adjectives are descriptive adjectives. Just like their name implies, these adjectives provide specific & descriptive information about a noun.
- Descriptive: I had seven beers at the tailgate.
- Indefinite: I had a few beers at the tailgate.
Examples of Indefinite Adjectives
Here are 7 examples of how to us an indefinite adjective correctly in a sentence. Remember, adjectives like Contemptuous & Contemptible modify singular nouns or plural nouns.
- “Some people like coffee, while others prefer tea.” (Some is used instead of naming specific names)
- “Is there anything you want to add to the shopping list?” (Anything is used instead of using specific items)
- “I can’t find my keys anywhere.” (Anywhere is used instead of identifying specific locations)
- “Everyone is welcome to join the club.” (Everyone is used instead of identifying people who are welcome)
- “Neither of the restaurants had vegetarian options.” (Neither is used instead of naming the restaurants)
- “Some of the apples are still good, but others are bruised.” (Some is used instead of identifying specific apples)
- “Nobody was home when I stopped by.” (Nobody is used instead of listing specific names)
Just like we saw in our comparison of saw or seen, word choice can make or break a writer! Choose your words wisely.
Indefinite Adjectives vs Indefinite Pronouns
The English language is full of parts of speech that are easily confused just like nouns vs pronouns. Indefinite adjectives vs pronouns are easily confused!
In fact, they are very similar in the fact that they are not specific or detailed. However, there is a key difference between the two: indefinite adjectives modify nouns, while indefinite pronouns replace nouns.
Check out these examples to understand the difference.
- “The hunter killed only a few deer.” (In this sentence, “few” is an indefinite adjective modifying the noun “deer.”)
- “Someone left their umbrella on the Amtrak this morning.” (In this sentence, “someone” is an indefinite pronoun standing in place of the noun “person.”)
Main Benefits Of Indefinite Adjectives
Just like there is a purpose for using predicate nouns. There are also benefits to using indefinite adjectives. Here are some of the main reasons to consider using this part of speech in your writing.
- Saves Time – Using vague or non-specific adjectives can save writers time. They do not need to look up specific information if it does not provide any value to the work of writing.
- More Inclusive – They can be more inclusive than definite adjectives because they allow you to refer to an entire group rather than a specific member of that group. There are times when you do not want to name specific people or names when making a statement.
- Making Negative Statements: These adjectives are also useful for making negative statements. For example, you can refer to an absence of a person. “Nobody was home when I stopped by.” This way you do not have to name all of the potential people who could have or should have been home.
What Are Definite Adjective?
Definite adjectives are final and unchanging description words used to describe nouns. Moreover, they provide information that is known and no further clarification is needed.
Here are some examples of definite adjective:
- Someone’s name
Indefinite Adjectives Quiz
Think you have a firm understanding of how to use common indefinite adjectives? Give this quiz a try. Don’t look at the answers until giving your best effort first!
- True or false: “Anyone” is used to describe a person who is not specific or known.
- True or false: Indefinite adjectives are very specific.
- True or false: “Someone” is used to describe a person who is not married or in a romantic relationship.
- True or false: Definite adjectives and indefinite adjectives are the same thing?
Here is the answer key:
Frequently Asked Questions
An indefinite adjective is an adjective that does not specify a certain quantity or number. For example, “some,” “a few,” and “many” are all indefinite adjectives. You might say “I had a few too many beers last night.”
Here are a list of 10 adjectives: delicious, sweet, sour, salty, appetizing, scrumptious, delectable, palatable, pretty, and handsome. You can use these words to describe nouns.
An example of an indefinite sentence is “I might go to the store later.” This does not tell you which store you’re going to or when you’re going.
An indefinite pronoun is a non-specific word such as “anyone”. An indefinite adjective describes a noun in a non specific manner (i.e. few).
The Bottom Line
Now you are an expert on indefinite adjectives, or at least you are far more comfortable using them. Remember, indefinite adjectives are used non-specifically and should be used in a vague manner. The English language is full of tricky grammar rules. If you need some extra help, use our correct sentence check tool for FREE. This tool makes checking your grammar easy and fast!