Limiting Adjectives - Indefinite

An indefinite adjective offers general information about the amount of the noun it modifies.

That's why it's indefiniteā€”this type of adjective doesn't sweat the specifics.

Here's a list of indefinite adjectives:

  • another
  • any
  • less
  • little
  • many
  • more
  • much
  • some

Examples

"Over the years, several visitors to the Scottish Highlands have spotted the Loch Ness Monster."

In this example, several is an indefinite adjective that modifies the noun visitors because the specific number of people that have claimed to see Nessie isn't given.

P.S. The most famous evidence of the Loch Ness Monster, "The Surgeon's Photograph," was revealed to be a hoax in 1975. Most analysts agree that the picture is actually of a toy submarine with a sculpted head attached, which all analysts agree is significantly less terrifying than a giant lake monster.

"Do we have enough gas to get to Fresno?"

Here, enough is an indefinite adjective that modifies the noun gas. Why anybody would be in a rush to get to Fresno is beyond us. Just joshin' you, Fresno. We love you, and we love your raisins.

"If Isaiah pushes the table a few inches to the left, he can cover the hole he just accidentally burned in the rug."

In this sentence, the indefinite adjective few refers to the unspecified number of inches that Isaiah needs to nudge the table in order to prevent his mother from killing him when she gets home from work.

 

Common mistakes

 

Both of these words mean the same thing: they're the opposite of more. Their uses are what differentiate them.

Oh, you want to know what those are? Abso-fruitly. You're lucky we love grammar so much.

  • Noncount nouns are things you can't count individually, like clutter, traffic, and sand

How would you like the task of sifting through every grain of sand on the beach? Not very much, we would guess. That's why we just don't bother to count 'em.

Relatedly, you can't make noncount nouns plural. We dare you to try. (And "the beautiful sands of Cabo" doesn't count.) Want to take a stab at defining count nouns?

  • Count nouns are things you can count.

You see three cupcakes, and there are three of you at the table. If there were any fewer cupcakes, someone would have been really unhappy.

Though these definitions are easy to remember, some words can be tricky, so try this exception to the rule on for size:

Even though we count hours, dollars, and miles, you use the expression less than to describe time, money, and distance.

Examples:

"Maybe if I took less AP classes I would have fewer stress-induced breakouts."

or

"Maybe if I took fewer AP classes I would have fewer stress-induced breakouts."

Which one of these sentences is correct?

The second one.

Why? Because we said so.

Oh, that explanation doesn't satisfy you? We expected as much, so we'll go on. You use less when you're talking about things you can't really count. And unless you have a time-turner like Hermione Granger, we're guessing you can count the number of AP classes you're taking.

We'd also guess that your stress-induced breakouts are pretty memorable (and annoying), so you can probably count those as well. That's why fewer is the correct word choice there.

 

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