Noun vs Adjective: Difference and Comparison

Adjectives are used to qualify the nouns used in the sentence. This indicates that an adjective cannot be used without a noun, while a noun can be used singularly –without an adjective modifier- in a sentence.


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This functional variance of each marks the differential border between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. A noun is a word that refers to a person, place, thing, or idea, while an adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun.
  2. Nouns are essential in constructing sentences and conveying meaning, while adjectives add color and specificity to the nouns.
  3. Nouns can be categorized into proper, common, concrete, and abstract nouns, while adjectives can be categorized into comparative, superlative, and demonstrative adjectives.

Noun vs Adjective

A noun is a word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns are the building blocks of sentences and are often the sentence’s subject. An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun by providing more information about its characteristics or qualities.

Noun vs Adjective

The function of an adjective is to offer more information about the noun. A noun is generally used as a naming word for various entities.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNounAdjective
DefinitionA noun is a word that connotes a particular name, place, idea, or object.An adjective denotes a descriptive word that illustrates the noun used in a sentence.
FunctionalityA noun functions as the subject or object of a sentence.An adjective solely operates as a noun modifier; it cannot be used as the subject or object of a sentence.
DependenceNouns can be used in sentences independently.Adjectives cannot be used without nouns.
Placement in a SentenceNouns can be used anywhere in a sentence.Adjectives are solely used before nouns. Their placement cannot be changed.
Sub-ClassificationsSub-categories of nouns include collective, abstract, concrete, proper, etc.Sub-categories of adjectives include descriptive, possessive, indefinite, etc.

What is a Noun?

A noun is defined as a naming word. It is a word used to refer to people, places, ideas, and objects.

Nouns are seminal parts of composite speech. The category of nouns is fairly vast and has several sub-divisions, including common nouns, proper nouns, collective nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, and others.

The function and usage of nouns are not limited to simply naming entities; they can also be used as objects and subjects in a sentence. Their usage is further widened when they are implemented as noun clauses.

In a sentence, nouns are known as common nouns when nouns indicate a class of a person, thing, or object. Tree, table, and door are some examples of common nouns.

When nouns indicate a precise place, name, or object, they are classed as proper nouns. Names of individuals (like Tom and John), places worldwide (like Delhi and London) and specific objects can fall under this category.

When nouns indicate a large collectivity of naming things, they are called collective nouns. Abstract nouns are used to name intangible ideas.

These include nouns like liberty, knowledge, beauty, etc. Conversely, concrete nouns are used to identify concrete and definite objects like a chair, box, girl, etc.


What is an Adjective?

An adjective is a descriptive word always used with a noun in any sentence. Adjectives add meaning to the noun used.

They provide the reader with supplementary information about the entity referenced by the noun. Adjectives act as noun modifiers.

Adjectives are dependent words; they cannot exist without a preceding noun. Their usage and placement in sentences are defined and fairly unvarying.

Adjectives always need to be placed before the noun. Only in extremely rare cases they are placed after the noun.

Like nouns, adjectives can also be classed into sub-categories. Descriptive adjectives illustrate a particular quality of the entity (name, place, object, or idea) that the noun connotes.

Descriptive adjectives include words like thin, tall, short, joyous, melancholy, etc. All these words describe the nouns attached to them.

Quantitative adjectives like some, many, few, etc., form a separate sub-category. Adjectives can also be possessive.

These words indicate ownership and possession of the noun they precede. His, her, my, etc., can be classified in this category.

Another prominent adjective classification category is that of titles. These words describe the personal status of the noun they precede.

For instance, uncle, duke, lord, etc., are potent instances of such adjectives.

Instances of adjectives and nouns used in sentences:

  1. She is a tall girl.
  2. Here, ‘tall’ is the descriptive adjective and ‘girl’ is the common noun.
  3. Uncle Barney will be travelling to Paris next week.
  4. Here, ‘uncle’ is the adjective connoting a personal title, while ‘Barney‘ and ‘Paris’ are proper nouns.

Main Differences Between Nouns and Adjectives

  1. The main difference between a noun and an adjective is that a noun can connote a name, place, or object, while an adjective’s use is circumscribed as a noun modifier. It cannot directly reference a name, place, or an inanimate object. Adjectives supply the individual with more information about the noun.
  2. The second seminal difference between the two concepts is that nouns can be used without an adjective. However, an adjective cannot be used without a noun in a sentence. It is always dependent on the prior existence of a noun.
  3. The role of each is also fairly different in a given sentence. Nouns act as objects or subjects in sentences and phrases, while adjectives act as noun modifiers. They cannot be used as objects or subjects of a sentence without accompanying nouns.
  4. The placement of each is varied. Nouns – because they signify names of people, places or objects, and ideas- can be used anywhere in a sentence. However, that is not the case for adjectives. An adjective can be used only before a noun. Its placement is quite specific and cannot be subject to any change.
  5. The typological subdivision of each category is different. Nouns can be classed as common, proper, collective, abstract, concrete, etc. Adjectives can be grouped as descriptive, possessive, indefinite, etc.
Difference Between Noun and Adjective
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