Twi Adjectives (Edin Nkyerɛkyerɛmu) | Twi Grammar

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Adjectives are words used to modify/describe nouns in sentences. English examples of adjectives include tall, short, old, small, red, beautiful, smart, etc.

In English, adjectives mostly appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify.

For example:

1. The smart boy topped the class.

2. She denied the old man entry.

English adjectives may also come after the word they describe.

For example:

3. Kofi is tall.

4. She is beautiful.

In English, the forms of adjectives remain the same whether they modify singular or plural nouns. This should come as good news to English language learners.

Ok, enough of English adjectives. Let’s proceed to explore Twi adjectives; that’s why we’re here today.

There are different types of Twi adjectives:

TypeExample
Numericdu (ten), aduonu (twenty), apem (thousand)
Quantitativebebree/pii (many/more), nyinaa (all), ɛfa (half), mua (full), etc.
Qualitativekɔkɔɔ (fair complexion), tenten (tall), kankan (smelly)
Demonstrativeyei (this), ɛno (that), yeinom (these), ɛnonom (those)
Possessiveme (my), wo (your), ne (his/her), wɔn (their)
Interrogativebɛn (which), hwan (who), deɛn (what)

Some sentential examples:

Number

ExampleEnglish Translation
nka mewɔ tɛkyerɛma apem a, nka mɛyi Onyankopɔn ayɛif I had a thousand tongues, I would’ve praised God
Kwame ware mmaa duKwame is married to ten women

Quantity

ExampleEnglish Translation
nnipa pii ka Akan kasamany people speak the Akan language
ɔmaa me kosua muaHe/she gave me a full egg

Colour

ExampleEnglish Translation
sɛ wopɛ se fitaa a, twiif you want white teeth, brush
ɔkra tuntum no ayerathe black cat is missing

Size

ExampleEnglish Translation
watwa dua kɛseɛ nohe/she has cut the big tree
Akosua se ɔmpɛ barima tiatiaAkosua says she doesn’t like/want a short man

Opinion

ExampleEnglish Translation
okunu pa, hwan na ɔbɛnyaa good husband, who’ll get? (who wouldn’t want one?)
yafunu bɔne nnim sɛ masaa bad stomach doesn’t care if you’ve administered an enema

Shape

ExampleEnglish Translation
adeɛ korokorowa bi da nsuo no mua rounded thing is lying in the water
abaayewa feaa no didii Kofi atɛmthe lean girl insulted Kofi

We stated earlier that English adjectives mostly appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify. From the examples above (1 – 11), it appears this is different with Twi adjectives. Indeed, Twi adjectives, unlike the English ones, mostly appear after the noun or noun phrase that they modify or describe. Here, they may appear immediately after the noun/noun phrase that they modify, or, after the main verb. Let’s take a look at examples of Twi adjectives appearing immediately after what they modify/describe.

GL: Gloss

DEF: Definite article

INDEF: Indefinite article

PERF: Perfect tense

PAST: Past tense

ExampleEnglish Translation

aboa kɛseɛ no awu

GL: animal big DEF die-PAST

the big animal has died

ɔtɔɔ amena donkodonko bi mu

GL: he/she-fall-PAST pit deep INDEF inside

he/she fell into a deep pit

Kofi anoa aduane dɛdɛɛdɛ bi

GL: Kofi PERF-PAST-cook meal delicious INDEF

Kofi has cooked a delicious meal

Now let’s check out examples of Twi adjectives appearing after the verb.

ExampleEnglish Translation

ɔbaa yi ho yɛ

GL: woman/lady/girl this side is beautiful/nice

this woman/lady is beautiful

adaka no mu yɛ duru

GL: box DEF inside is heavy

the box is heavy

Aduane no yɛ

GL: food DEF is delicious

The food is delicious

Quite often, Twi adjectives take on different forms depending on whether they appear immediately after what they modify, or after the verb. For instance, if we take the set of examples used right above (15 – 17) and move the adjectives to the positions immediately after the respective nouns, the forms of the adjectives will change. Let’s try.

ExampleEnglish Translation

ɔbaa fɛfɛɛfɛ/hoɔfɛfoɔ no ada

GL: woman/lady/girl beautiful DEF-sleep-PAST

the beautiful woman has slept

adaka duruduru no yɛ me dea

GL: box heavy DEF is mine

the heavy boxy is mine

aduane dɛdɛɛdɛ no asa

GL: meal delicious DEF finish-PAST

the delicious meal is finished

Let’s look at more examples of Twi adjectives that have different forms depending on where they appear in relation to the position of the word/phrase they describe.

Twi Adjectives appearing right after what they modify

Example (Twi)English Translation
matwa samina denneennen no muI’ve cut the hard soap into two
Yaw de bokiti harehare no maa meYaw gave me the lightweight bucket
ɔwɔ kraman tantaantan bihe/she has a (certain) ugly dog
ɔbɔdamni no atwe nkrantɛ nnamnam bithe mentally challenged has pulled out a sharp cutlass
ɔso dadeɛ duruduru bihe/she is carrying a (certain) heavy metal

Twi Adjectives appearing after the main verb

Example (Twi)English Translation
samina no yɛ denthe soap is hard
me bokiti no mu yɛ haremy bucket is lightweight
kraman yi ho yɛ tanthe dog is ugly
nkrantɛ no yɛ namthe cutlass is sharp
dadeɛ no mu yɛ duruthe metal is heavy

There are certain Twi adjectives that have the same forms irrespective of where they appear in a sentence (whether they appear immediately after the noun/noun phrase that they describe or after the main verb).

After what they modifyAfter the verb

ɛdan foforɔ no yɛ me dea

(the new house is mine)

ɛdan no yɛ foforɔ

(the house is new)

mewɔ odwan fitaa

(I have a white sheep)

odwan no yɛ fitaa

(the sheep is white)

Kwadwo pɛ ɔbaa kɔkɔɔ aware

(Kwadwo wants a fair complexioned woman to marry)

ɔbaa no yɛ kɔkɔɔ

(the woman is fair in complexion)

Another difference between English and Twi adjectives has to do with their markedness for plurality. We stated earlier that in English, the forms of adjectives remain the same whether they are used to describe/modify a singular or plural noun. For instance, the adjective ‘small’ in the phrase “the small house” does not change in form if we change ‘house’ to its plural form ‘houses’ (the big houses).

On the other hand, there are Twi adjectives that are marked for plurality. So depending on whether they are used to qualify a singular or plural noun, these adjectives assume different forms.

Some examples:

Singular AdjectivePlural AdjectiveEnglish Translation
aboa kɛseɛmmoa akɛseɛbig animal/big animals
dua tentennnua atententall tree/tall trees
akonnwa ketewankonnwa nketewasmall chair/small chairs
abirekyie tuntummmirekyie atuntumblack goat/black goats
nipa tiatiannipa ntiantiashort person/short people

Other Twi adjectives, just like English adjectives, maintain their forms whether or not they qualify a singular or plural noun.

Singular AdjectivePlural AdjectiveEnglish Translation
akwadaa bɔnenkwadaa bɔnebad child/bad children
ɔman ba paaman mma pagood citizen/good citizens

Let’s end here. You’ll encounter other examples of Twi adjectives in the sentence examples we’ve used in the previous lessons, as well as what we’ll be using in future lessons. Please observe them critically when you do, noting down any peculiarity you may find.

If you don’t understand anything, you can send me an e-mail via [email protected]. You may also leave your questions in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.

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Tikya Yaw
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7 thoughts on “Twi Adjectives (Edin Nkyerɛkyerɛmu) | Twi Grammar”

    1. Hi Garvy, there’s going to be a dedicated lessons on Twi sentence structure and formation. These part of speech lessons are intended to prepare students towards those. Because we’ll be combining these parts of speech, in their appropriate (word) orders to form the sentences. Medaase.

  1. Thank You Thank you Thank You Soooooo Much!!! I’ve been learning Twi for a couple years now and I just came across this website!! Thank you so much, God bless you, you helped me pass my examinations!!!!

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