Distributive Adjectives – Examples

Adjectives belong to the eight parts of speech in English grammar. These are sets of words that have different functions and help us in our writing and speech. Adjectives are basically modifying words. They revolve around nouns and characterize them.

However, that is only the general understanding of adjectives. Adjectives have different categories that are used in various other ways to modify nouns. One such category is distributive adjectives. They may sound exactly like distributive pronouns, but they have different usages.

Let us get into a detailed discussion to learn more about distributive adjectives and make our concept clear.

What are distributive adjectives?

Distributive adjectives are the type of adjectives used to refer to a singular noun. But usually, this singular noun is a collective group of something. This means distributive adjectives are words that refer to more than one person present in a collective group individually or separately.

In simple words, distributive adjectives refer to separate and specific things present in a group. Some of the main distributive adjectives are each, every, either, and neither.

Let us understand them clearly with some basic examples;

  • Each member of the club is requested to leave the class.
  • Each girl in our class has joined the dance society.
  • I want every student to join the competition
  • The show is on Monday and Wednesday. Either day will be fine with me.
  • They gave me all kinds of sweets. But neither of them suits my taste.

Difference between distributive pronouns and distributive adjectives

Distributive adjectives make use of similar words as distributive pronouns. However, they are not the same.

Distributive pronouns are words that are used as a noun or the object of a sentence. But with distributive adjectives, it is followed by a noun. They both refer to things present in a group individually, but pronouns are never followed by a noun, while an adjective is.

For example;

  • Each of them performed very well. (Pronoun)
  • Each girl will have to leave the bus right now. (Adjective)

Usage of distributive adjectives

Now that we know the meaning of distributive adjectives, we need to realize that these adjectives are applicable only with singular nouns. However, singular nouns can be a collective group of two or more people or things.

Let us understand some basic distributive adjectives;

Each: It is used to speak about all the members of a group individually.

  • I want each member of the club to submit their presentations by tomorrow.

Every: It is similar to each, but only it is more generalized than each. It refers to each and every person.

  • I want every student to attend the orientation now.

Either: It is used whenever there are only two choices. It is to imply one out of two options.

  • You can choose either of the two books I have.

Neither: It is also used when there are only two choices present. Here, it shows negativity by not opting for any of the two options.

  • I like neither of the dresses.

These are some of the distributive adjectives.

While distributive adjectives seem to be very easy, not understanding these basic points can cause errors. Therefore, it is important to learn and practice regularly.

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