Are numbers adjectives? Is two or three an adjective? Is several or many an adjective?

3 Answers
Apr 5, 2018

Numbers are not adjectives.


Numbers are numbers. If a sentence said that there was 20 fires in one night, all the numbers do is tell the reader how many fires there were in a night.

Apr 5, 2018

Usually yes


Numbers, when used to modify nouns/noun phrases/pronouns, are adjectives.

Leia saw two cars. In this sentence, two is describing how many cars there are. It is functioning as an adjective.

Apr 5, 2018

Not exactly...


Consider the following:

  • He saw trucks.

  • He saw the truck.

  • He saw a truck.

  • He saw one truck.

  • He saw two trucks.

  • He saw several trucks.

  • He saw many trucks.

Notice that in these contexts, the numbers do not describe an attribute of the truck or trucks, but function more like an article.

The modern term for such a role is determiner.

In other contexts numbers can be nouns.