Pronominal Adjective

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What are Pronominal Adjectives?

Words which are identical in form with certain pronouns but used either with nouns or in place of nouns are known as pronominal adjectives.

A pronominal adjective is a word which either qualifies a nounOpens in new window mentioned, or represents a noun understood (omitted); as below:

    • This task is difficult.
    • This is a difficult task.

    In example 1, this qualifies the noun task and takes the role of an adjectiveOpens in new window. In 2, this represents the noun task—taking the role of a pronounOpens in new window.

    Pronominal adjectives are therefore, closely connected with pronounsOpens in new window.

    The difference between them is that pronouns Opens in new window stand by themselves in the place of the nounsOpens in new window that they represent, whereas the pronominal adjectives are joined to the nouns they qualify.

Pronominal Adjectives are shown below.
Examples of Pronominal Adjectives
whichwhatwhichever
whateverwhateverformer
thatthesethose
latterbothsame
everyeitherneither
noneotheranother
allanysuch
thiswhatsoevereach
onesomewhichsoever

These words which are ordinarily adjective pronouns all become pronominal adjectives, when used with their nouns, as:

Expressions with Pronominal Adjectives
  • This book is huge
  • Both players are good
  • Other countries
  • Which painting is an allegory
  • That studio in texas
  • The same boy
  • Such feelings
  • What pictures are these?

A pronominal adjective may sometimes represent a noun which is not mentioned; in such instances the gender cannot be determined.

However, the number and the person are determined by the form, or by the sense in which the pronominal adjective is used.

For Example:
  • All seemed satisfied with the explanation.

Classes of Pronominal Adjective

Pronominal adjectives may be sub-divided into three classes:

  1. Distributive,
  2. Demonstrative, and
  3. Indefinite.
  1. Distributive Pronominal Adjectives

    The distributive pronominal adjectives modify or represent the names of objects taken separately or singly.

    The common distributives include:

    each, every, either and neither

    These words usually refer to nouns in the singular number.

  2. Demonstrative Pronominal Adjectives

    The demonstrative pronominal adjectives are so called demonstrative in the sense that they modify or represent the names of objects in a definite manner.

    The common demonstratives are:

    this, that, these, and those.

    Their Uses:
    • This and that are used when referring to a noun in the singular number;
    • These and those are used in contrast–when referring to a noun in the plural number.
  3. Indefinite Pronominal Adjectives

    The indefinite pronominal adjectives are called indefinite because they modify or represent the name of objects indefinitely or in an unspecified manner.

    The common ones include:
    allanother any
    noneoneother
    somesuch, etc.
    Their Uses
    • Another is declined like a noun, only in the singular number;
    • One and other are declined in both numbers.

The words: both, enough, few, former, latter, little, less, least, much, many, more, most, same, several and the likes, may also be classed among the pronominal adjectives.

What, whatever, and whatsoever, are often used as relative pronounsOpens in new window and pronominal adjectives at the same time.

For Example:
  • Perform what duties devolve upon you
    → (meaning same as “Perform those duties devolve upon you”).

When used as such, it is called relative pronominal adjective.

Which and what, and their compounds, when placed before nouns to ask questions, are called interrogative pronominal adjectives; in other instances they are simply pronominal adjectives.

For Example:
  • What preparations have been made?
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