An analysis on the diversity of quality adjectives

I did an initial analysis on the functional types of adjectives and I realized that quality (property/descriptive) adjectives are the largest and most broad category and so I wanted to do a deeper analysis here. I tried to do some research on the amount of adjectives in the English language and supposedly there are estimates ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 of them!

Size and shape – big,little, microscopic,short,long ,fat, skinny, circular, rectangular, wide

Time – old, fast, new, young, slow, quick, recent

Textures – smooth, rough, hard, fuzzy, crunch

Color – black, white, red, green, orange

Quality – average, poor, superb, standard

Intelligence – smart, dumb, average, dull

mind – crazy, eccentric, wild, thoughtful

personality – lazy, shy, reserved, analytical, cheerful

Olfactory – fragrant, smelly, gross, stinky, foul

Taste – yummy, salty, bland, sweet, spicy, delicious

material – hard, soft, squishy, wooden, metallic, bouncy

Sound – loud, whiny, quiet, buzzing, screeching

Appearance – ugly, beautiful, dirty, clean, pretty, handsome

Strength – weak, strong, nimble, powerful

Speed – fast, slow, agile

Temperature – hot, warm, cool, cold

Frequency – seldom, often, infrequent

Duration – long, short

Food – rotten, fresh

personality – kind, mean, nice, evil

Many adjectives describe our physical word.

There are also many abstract adjectives:

rich, employable, charitable, kind, wonderful, amazing, complex, sophisticated, fabulous, appealing, delightful,original

The ways adjectives can describe nouns seems to be infinite. For any object, we can describe different aspects of it. The amount of adjectives we have is probably similar to the amount of nouns there are. In fact, many base words can be both nouns and adjectives:

  • sadness and sad
  • beauty and beautiful
  • strength and strong
  • success and successful
  • creation and creative
  • amazement and amazing

And this is not just the case with adjectives and nouns, but also verbs and adverbs. Is it safe to say that most concepts can be expressed as nouns, adverbs, adjectives, and verbs? So in the human mind, do we have models of a core concept that can be expressed in any part of speech or do we have models of each of these variations?

And how do we choose the way we want to express our thoughts?

Obviously many adjectives work in conjunction with emotion: grand, awesome, beautiful, inspiring, interesting, admirable, etc. Computational models currently cannot simulate emotions and so I don’t want to focus on those adjectives, although they probably are the majority of adjective usage. I am interested in the adjectives that can be used essentially in an objective manner: “The tall ones”. “The purple ball”. “The faster one”. These adjectives are essentially objective, there is not a lot of room for misinterpretation.

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