Grammar Drill – Adjective/Noun agreement

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In previous grammar drill lessons we covered making singular and plural of both feminine and masculine nouns.  In this episode, we will look at how to use adjectives to go with those nouns.

There are two types of adjectives.  The first type ends in आ, and the ending will change depending on the number and gender of the noun it modifies.  The second type ends with anything else.  These do not change.

Let us look at two colors for an example:  black is काला and white is सफ़ेद. 

काला the word for black, ends in आ so it changes depending on the number and gender of the the noun it describes.   Let us see some examples of this.

खिलौना is a masculine noun that means “toy”. 

“Black toy” is काला खिलौना

Toys is खिलौने

and “black toys” is काले खिलौने notice you see the same transition of the आ to ए when it changes from singular to plural for masculine nouns.  This is true for all adjectives ending in आ that are used to describe a masculine noun, regardless if this transition happens in the masculine noun or not.

Consider the word for house घर which is a masculine noun not ending in आ.  The same word घर is used to refer to “houses”. 

black house is काला घर

black houses is काले घर

This is one way that you can tell if you are referring to one house or two.

  When used with a feminine noun, the आ ending will change to ई.

Table मेज़ is a feminine noun. 

black table is काली मेज़

And for feminine nouns the adjective’s ending stays the same for both singular and plural.

black tables is काली मेज़ें

The adjectives that do not end in आ do not change in all these cases.  सफ़ेद means “white” and it is an adjective that does not end in आ.  Here are examples of using it in the same cases as above.

white toy: सफ़ेद खिलौना

white toys: सफ़ेद खिलौने

white house: सफ़ेद घर

white houses: सफ़ेद घर  (same as “white house”.  Therefore you will have to look at other parts of the sentence or understand the context to determine if “house” or “houses” makes sense.)

white table:  सफ़ेद मेज़

white tables: सफ़ेद मेज़े

Now to recap.  Adjectives that end in आ in their dictionary form will change the ending depending on the gender and number of the noun that it modifies.  If the noun is masculine and singular, then the ending remains as आ like example काला above.  If the noun is masculine and plural, then the ending changes to ए, for example काले.  And if the noun is feminine, rather singular or plural, then the ending changes to ई, for example काली.

If the adjective does not end in आ then the ending does not change.  The example we used here was सफ़ेद.

This can require a lot more practice to become comfortable with.  In the paid subscriber’s area, we have a number of nouns with the various colors to give you some more practice.

If you are a paid subscriber, then see many more examples of this:


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