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Adjective Types[edit]

Quenya has 3 types of adjectives depending on their final letter:

Adjectives in \`C -a:
  • `Cj1E alta "big"
  • aY65# corna "round"
  • j#6aD larca "swift, rapid"
  • 7lDaD raica "bent"
  • eD7R`C farëa "enough"
Adjectives in \`V -ë:
  • j.FaR leucë "sick"
  • 5%v$ ninquë "white"
  • aD65$ carnë "red"
Adjectives in \5 -n; most end in \`B5 -in but some in \`V5 -en:
  • t#7T5 marin "ripe"
  • zDj%5 qualin "dead"
  • qR7R5 peren "patient"

Adjectives are mostly placed in front of the noun to which they belong:

  • j#6aD 8~B7R larca sírë "a rapid river"
  • `B 5%v$ eD5Ì# i ninquë fanya "the white cloud"

It is emphasized by putting it after its noun:

  • t#j°$ 7lDaD mallë raica "a bent (and not straight) road"

With a proper noun adjectives are always put behind the noun:

  • `Vj$2%j yY7Y2# Elendil Voronda "Elendil (the) Faithful, Faithful Elendil"

Adjectives can also be used predicatively with the verb :

  • `B qE6t# 5~C aD65$ i parma ná carnë "the book is red"

In such short sentences 5~C or 5#6 nar is often omitted:

  • `B qE6t# aD65$ i parma carnë "the book is red"


Adjectives have only one plural form; it is used whenever the noun it belongs to is not singular (so dual, plural and partitive plural make no difference for the adjective):

  • aD65% qE6t#6 carni parmar "red books"
  • aD65% qE6t#1 carni parmat "a pair of red books"
  • aD65% qE6t#j% carni parmali "some red books"

Predicatively used adjectives are in the plural whenever the subject refers to more than one person or thing:

  • `B aG7ÎE6 5#6 5%v% i ciryar nar ninqui "the ships are white"
  • `B `C7E6 `C6 `B 1~C7T 5#6 `Cj1R i aran ar i tári nar altë "the king and queen are big"

'Formation of the plural':

Adjectives in \`C -a but not in \`V`C -ëa:
  • `Cj1E alta`Cj1R altë "big"
  • aY65# cornaaY65$ cornë "round"
  • 7lDaD raica7lDaR raicë "bent"
Adjectives in \`V`C -ëa:
  • eD7R`C farëaeD7T`V farië "enough"
  • j.D7R`C laurëaj.D7T`V laurië "golden"
Adjectives in \`V -ë:
  • j.FaR leucëj.FaG leuci "sick"
  • 5%v$ ninquë5%v% ninqui "white"
Adjectives in \5 -n have two possible forms:
  • t#7T5 marint#7T5% - t#7T2% marini/marindi "ripe"
  • zDj%5 qualinzDj%5% - zDj%2% qualini/qualindi "dead"
  • qR7R5 perenqR7R5% - qR7R2% pereni/perendi "patient"
One adjective is irregular:
  • tlD1R maitëtlDiG maisi "handy"

Inflected adjectives[edit]

In Quenya there are only 2 occurrences in which the adjectives are inflected:

When the adjective is used as a noun
When the adjective immediately follows its noun

In all other places an adjective only has 2 forms: singular and plural (see above).

Examples and paradigms can be found on a separate page: Inflected adjectives.


Quenya uses two different comparatives: relative and absolute.

Relative Comparison[edit]

When we use an adjective in a relative comparison, it is preceded by j~C but its form doesn’t change:

  • `N7Yt$ 5~C 9Cj°# j~C t#2^8 Oromë ná halla lá Mandos "Orome is taller than Mandos"
  • `C5#6 5~C aDj%t# j~C `BiGj Anar ná calima lá Isil "The sun is brighter than the moon"

Note: j~C is also used to negate a verb, so it can appear with both meanings in one sentence:

  • j~C aD7Tj´$8 tlDaD j~C t#aGj$7ÎE lá carilyes maica lá macilerya "you don't make it sharper than your sword"

If one is unsure of the meaning of which j~C is being used, simply identify the following word to determine the meaning:

  • j~C followed by a "noun" = Relative Comparison.
  • j~C followed by a "verb" = Verb Negation.

Absolute Comparison[edit]

If on the other hand the comparison is used absolutively, we have a special ending \m#lda:

  • `N7Yt$ 5~C 9Cj°#m# Oromë ná hallalda "Orome is longer"

So these comparatives are always adjectives on \`Ca and follow the rules of these adjectives:

  • jlDzDm$ qRj$7T laiqualdë peleri "greener fields"

To apply the ending to adjectives on \`Vë we use their I-stem:

  • 5%v$ ninquë "white" → 5%v%m# ninquilda

and adjectives on \`B5 - \`V5in/-en get the ending \`Bm#ilda:

  • t$j%5 melin "dear" → t$j%5%m# melinilda

Finally, a few are irregular:

  • t~C7E - t#5$ mára/manë "good" → t#m# malda "better"
  • yE5Ì# vanya "beautiful, fair" → yEm# valda "more beatiful, fairer"
  • `MjaD ulca "bad" → `Mm# ulda "worse"
  • elDaD faica "bad" → eRm# felda "worse"
  • j%w# limba "many" → j%m# lilda "more"
  • `Nj´# olya "much" → `Nm# olda "more"

and the diminutive:

  • t#f# manca "few" → t%1E+ mitsa "less"


The superlative is formed by applying the prefix `C5\ an- to the adjective:

  • aDj%t# calima "clear" → `Cf#j%t# ancalima "clearest"
  • yT5Ì# vinya "new" → `C5yT5Ì# anvinya "newest"

This prefix cannot be applied to every adjective as otherwise unallowed consonant clusters could appear (see Phonology).
It can be prefixed to adjectives beginning in: a vowel, c-, n-, qu-, t-, v-, w-, y-. some other consonants can get the prefix `C5#\ ana-:

  • `Cj1E alta "big" → `C5#j1E analta "biggest"
  • 5%2$ nindë "fragile" → `C5:%2$ annindë "most fragile"
  • zD4# quanta "full" → `Cv#4# anquanta "fullest"
  • nTjnE wilwa "vague" → `C5nTjnE anwilwa "vaguest"
  • hÍRjnE yelwa "loathsome" → `C5Ì$jnE anyelwa "most loathsome"
  • eU7T5 furin "hidden" → `C5#eU7T5 anafurin "most hidden"
  • 9Cj°# halla "long" → `C5#dEj°# anahalla "longest"

When an adjective begins in q\ p- the prefix becomes `Ct\ am-:

  • qT1ÎE pitya "small, little" → `Cr%1ÎE ampitya "smallest"

Before l-, m-, r-, s- the n of an- assimilates into the following consonant to make it a double consonant:

  • jlDaD lauca "warm" → `Cj°lDaD allauca "warmest"
  • 7Ts# ringa "cold" → `C7;Ts# arringa "coldest"
  • iDuE sarda "hard" → `C,DuE assarda "hardest"
  • t#7T5 marin "ripe" → `C5:#7T5 ammarin "ripest"

But when we look at the historical development of Quenya, a large group of adjectives must have 'historical' irregularities, e.g.

  • yE5Ì# vanya "beautiful" → `Cw#5Ì# ambanya "most beautiful"

We will look at these on a separate page: historical superlatives.

>> Neo-Quenya >> Adjectives