Numeral Adjectives | Describing Words | Grade 3 | ORCHIDS
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Describing Words

Concept: Number


Describing words of number is used with a noun to describe its exact quantity or amount.

  • These words state the number of persons or things.
  • Describing words of number isalso called numeral adjectives or adjectives of number. Describing words of number answer the question ‘how many?’.

Types of Adjectives of Number


There are two types of adjectives for numbers. They are as follows:

  1. Definite numeral adjectives- indicate the exact number or position of the subject in the sentence.
  2. Indefinite numeral adjectives- These are describing words that refer to an unspecified amount of something that is countable. For instance, all, some, many, little, any, few, none, several, etc. These words can be used for adjectives of quantity when it is used to describe uncountable nouns. (i.e. time, milk, water).

Definite Numeral Adjectives

Definite adjectives are further divided into three types:

  1. Cardinals: Cardinals means number, and this number can show the number of people or things. These types of adjectives are words like one, two, nine, fifty-seven, etc.
  2. Examples:

    1. There are six students in the classroom.
    2. Nature-1
    3. They bought two ice creams.
    4. One year equals three hundredand sixty-five days.
    5. In a day, there are twenty-four hours.
  3. Ordinals:
  4. Ordinals show the order or series in which a thing or person(noun) stands. These adjectives include words like first, second, third, etc.


    1. Breakfast is the first meal, the second is the lunch, and dinner is the third meal of the day.
    2. Nature-1
    3. She got the third prize.
    4. Mr. Nair lives on the sixth floor.
    5. I am repeating this for the third time.
    6. This is my third job.
  5. Multiplicative Adjective
  6. It refers to how many folds or times the number has been repeated. For instance, double or twofold, triple or threefold, single, fourfold or quadruple, etc.


    1. She charged me double the fair as compared to others.
    2. Not a single person had the courage to speak up against him.
    3. The prices of essential goods have risen threefold in the past ten years.

Common Mistakes

  1. Do not forget to use a hyphen between two numeral adjectives.
  2. Example:

    We plan to buy a fifty-two-inch television.

    We plan to buy a 52 inch television.

  3. If a hyphen joins a definite Numeral Adjective and a Noun and forms a compound word, then the Noun is singular always. Remember: Numeral Adjective + Hyphen + Noun
  4. Examples:

    My grandmother gave me a hundred-rupee note.

    My grandmother gave me a hundred-rupees note.

    The apartment has two bedrooms.

    In this sentence, the word two indicates the number of bedrooms the apartment has.

    I own a two-bedroom apartment.

    Here, the number two and the noun bedroom are combined to form an adjective, thereby giving more details about the noun apartment.

  5. A definite adjective of number cannot be used with uncountable nouns.
  6. Example:

    I need two sugar cubes in my tea.

    I need 2 sugars in my tea.

  7. Using hyphens when measurements are not adjectives.
  8. Example:

    Rishu won the relay race by 15 yards.

    Rishu won the relay race by 15-yards.


  1. Some nouns that are followed by definite numeral adjectives are plural always. For instance, dozen, pair, hundred, gross, million, etc.
  2. Example:

    Two dozen bananas.


    Two dozens pencils.

  3. It is not required to use a hyphen when measurements are not adjectives.
  4. Examples:

    1. She reached by 2pm.
    2. He became sleepy after twelve.
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