Is Poor Adjective, Noun Or Verb? 5 Facts You Should Know

Words that describe are adjectives, words which name are nouns, and words that show actions are verbs. Let us identify whether the word “poor” is an adjective, noun, or verb.

The word “poor” can be an adjective and a noun. The word “poor” is an adjective when it describes a naming word – singular or plural (noun, pronoun, or even a noun phrase), by giving extra details about them. The word “poor” is a noun when it is utilized for naming a person.

In this article, we shall explore the various facts that will help us know why, when, and how the word “poor” acts as an adjective and a noun and not as a verb.

When is “poor” an adjective?

While used for describing and qualifying the naming words, the word “poor” takes up the role of an adjective. We will get to know what and when the adjective “poor” qualifies. 

The tabular column below records, with suitable examples, the various instances when the word “poor” will act as an adjective.

 Instances When “Poor” Is An Adjective Examples Explanations
1. When utilized to qualify a naming word that / who has / have quite a little money and possessionsOur house helps are poor and so we gifted them new dresses for Diwali. In this sentence, the adjective “poor” is utilized to qualify the plural naming word ‘house helps’ (people). The adjective “poor” here tells that the house helps have very little money with them.
2. When used to modify a naming word that is not of a good quality (bad quality) or standard and one that has not met the expectationsMy mother says that I have poor handwriting. 
The adjective “poor” is here stating the bad quality of the speaker’s handwriting. “Poor” in this sentence is modifying the naming word ‘handwriting’.
3. When used to qualify an individual or a person who is not good at a particular activity, skill, or profession.
My friend, Varsha is a poor dancer and so she feels shy to dance in front of everybody. 
In this sentence, the adjective “poor” is giving us additional details about Varsha as a dancer. “Poor” here modifies the naming word ‘dancer’ (a person) by stating that Varsha is not good at dancing. 
4. When used to modify a noun by expressing pity or sympathy
That poor boy lost his family when he was five years old. 
 “Poor”, the adjective here is modifying the naming word ‘boy’ (a person) by conveying pity and sympathy for the boy who lost his family when he was five years old.
5. When used to describe a naming word that is insufficient or in lack of somethingThe food that you are eating is poor in nutritional value.In this sentence, the word “poor” is an adjective since it is qualifying the naming word ‘food’ (a thing). It is giving us additional information about the insufficient nutritious nature of the food that ‘you’ are eating.  
 Instances When “Poor” Is An Adjective

Is “poor” a descriptive adjective?

A descriptive adjective, as the name suggests, describes the description of a person, thing, place, idea, thought, etc. Here let us check if “poor” is a descriptive adjective.

The adjective “poor” is a descriptive adjective since it describes the nature, behavior, quality, characteristic features, and state of mind of both singular and plural naming words (person, thing, idea, situation, etc).

Example: He became poor as there was a huge loss in his shop last year.

In the above sentence, the word “poor” is an adjective that is qualifying the pronoun ‘he’ (a person). The adjective “poor” in specific can be regarded as a descriptive adjective since the extra information it provides about the naming word ‘he’ is his (impoverished) state without money or any possession. 

When is “poor” a descriptive adjective?

The adjective “poor” is a descriptive adjective when it qualifies or modifies a naming word (a person, a thing, a situation, an idea, etc.) with less or no money, low quality or standard, not skilled, insufficient, or expressing pity and sympathy. 

Going through the examples in the following tabular column will enhance a better understanding of the usage of the word “poor” as a descriptive adjective.

ExamplesExplanations – Usage Of “Poor” As A Descriptive Adjective
1. We share food with our next-door neighbor who is old and poor.“Poor”, the predicate descriptive adjective in this sentence is utilized to describe the naming word ‘neighbor’ (a person). “Poor” states that the next-door neighbor does not have enough money and so ‘we’ share food with him / her
2. Let us not buy the dress from this shop as the fabric is poor.Here, the predicate descriptive adjective used is “poor” and it is qualifying the naming word ‘fabric’ (a material noun). The usage of “poor” here denotes that the quality of the fabric in this shop is bad.
3. Rahul has many innovative ideas but he fails to convince the audience since he is a poor presenter.The attributive descriptive adjective, “poor” in this sentence is conveying that Rahul does not have good skills in presenting his ideas. The adjective “poor” qualifies the naming word ‘presenter’ (a person) here.
4. The entire colony felt bald for the poor girl whose brother got lost.The attributive descriptive adjective, “poor” here in the given sentence is used to convey a sense of pity and sympathy for the girl whose brother got lost. The adjective “poor” modifies the naming word ‘girl’ (a person) here.
5. The poor soil quality is responsible for the poor vegetation in this area.In the given sentence, the attributive descriptive adjective “poor” is used twice to modify two naming words ‘soil’ and ‘vegetation’.
The usage of the adjective “poor” with the naming word ‘soil’ indicates the bad quality of the soil. The usage of the adjective “poor” with the noun ‘vegetation’ denotes the lack of vegetation in this area.
6. Vaghul is so poor that he could not even afford a new bag.“Poor”, the predicate descriptive adjective here gives extra information about the financial status (impoverished state) of Vaghul who could not even afford a new bag, by qualifying the noun ‘Vaghul’ (a person).
7. Oh! The poor dog was hit by a lorry today afternoon.The usage of “poor”, the attributive descriptive adjective marks the sense of sympathy towards the cat (naming word) that was hit by a car today afternoon.
Usage Of “Poor” As A Descriptive Adjective

Is “poor” a noun?

Some words take the same forms even when used as different parts of speech. Their functions differ based on how, when, and why they are used. We shall see if “poor” can be a noun

The word “poor” can be or is a noun (naming word) at places where it is used for the purpose of naming somebody. The plural form of “poor” –‘poors’ also performs the role of a noun.

Example: The poor are often exploited for various reasons by various people.

In this sentence, the word “poor” is functioning as a naming word (noun) since it is utilized for the purpose of naming. Here, the noun “poor” is naming people who have no money even to fulfill their basic needs.  

When is “poor” a noun?

The word “poor” (poors – plural of “poor”) is a noun when it names people who have little or no money, wealth, or possession to fulfill their everyday needs.

The usage of the word “poor” as a noun can be better understood when we read through the examples in the following tabular column.

ExamplesExplanations – Usage Of “Poor” And ‘Poors’ As A Noun      
1. We can help the poor in any small way that we can.In this sentence, the noun “poor” refers to people who are impoverished and to whom we should help in any small way.
2. The poors are struggling to voice out their opinions and views.‘Poors’, the plural of the noun “poor” here is utilized to name the poverty-stricken people who are struggling to voice out their opinions and views.
3. The rich and the affluent can change the lives of the poor if they care and share.“Poor”, the noun in this sentence is naming the people who do not have enough wealth and money and whose lives could be changed by the caring and sharing of the rich.
4. The government is taking all measures to provide proper housing for the poor.The noun “poor” here is utilized to name individuals or people who are in need of money and financial support and for whom the government is taking measures to provide housing.
5. Sahana always spends half of her pocket money to help the poor.“Poor” is used as a naming word (noun) in this sentence as it is naming the underprivileged people in need of money for whom Sahana spends half of her pocket money.
Usage Of “Poor” And ‘Poors’ As A Noun 

Is “poor” a verb?

Verbs are words that represent a past, present, or future action, activity, occurrence, or state of being. We shall find out if “poor” is a verb; if not, we will understand why.

The word “poor” is not a verb as it does not show or represent any action, occurrence, or activity that had happened, is happening or will happen, or a state of being of the past, present, or future. 

Example: Sanskaar is very poor in science and mathematics. 

In the above sentence, the word “poor” is not an action word (verb) as it is not indicating any action or state of being but instead is describing the naming word ‘Sanskaar’ (a person) by giving us additional information that he is not up to standard or not up to expectations in mathematics and science. 


Hence, through this article, we got a clear understanding of the usage of the word “poor” as a describing word (adjective) and as a naming word (noun).

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