The Adjective

Many Quenya adjectives end in the vowel a:
laiqua "green"
alassëa "happy" (from alassë "happiness")
númenya "western" (from númen "west")
vanya "fair"
morna "black"
melda "dear, beloved" (originally *melnâ; the endings -na and -da may sometimes have the same origin, n being dissimilated to d following l)
There are also a number of adjectives ending in ë, like carnë "red", varnë "swart" or inimeitë "female". It may be noted that in mature Quenya, there seem to be no adjectives in -o or -u. Relatively few adjectives end in a consonant - typically n, as in firin, qualin "dead" (by natural cause and by accident, respectively).

Adjectives agree in number with the noun they describe. Adjectives in -a have plural forms in -ë, adjectives in -ë or in a consonant have plural forms in -i, and adjectives in -ëa have plural forms in -:

vanya vendë "a beautiful maiden" > vanyë vendi "beautiful maidens"
carnë parma "a red book" > carni parmar "red books"
laurëa lassë "a golden leaf" > laurië lassi "golden leaves"
firin casar "a dead dwarf" > firini casari "dead dwarves"
Hence in the first line of Namárië we find laurië lantar lassi, "like gold (lit. golden) fall the leaves", while "golden falls a leaf" would be laurëa lanta lassë (both the verb and the adjective agreeing with lassë, lassi "leaf, leaves" in number).

The present writer once thought that the name of the journal Vinyar Tengwar contained an error; if the intended meaning was "New Letters", it would have to be Vinyë Tengwar (vinya "new", tengwa "letter"). But as Carl F. Hostetter subsequently explained, the intended meaning is "News Letters", so vinya is inflected like a noun. This writer was still skeptical about the whole construction and thought it should have been Tengwar Vinyaron "Letters of News" or something similar, but material that has since been published shows that "loose compounds" of this kind really are possible. (Last line of querulous defence: Tengwa "letter" is only attested with the meaning "character", not "letter" = "mail, post"!) It may be noted that in some earlier variants of Quenya (or "Qenya"), adjectives actually did have plural forms in -r; cf. LR:47, where raikar is used as the plural form of raika "bent". Tolkien revised the grammar later.

An intensive or superlative form of the adjective is derived by prefixing an-: Calima "bright", Ancalima "most bright" (Letters:279). We don't know how to construct the comparative ("brighter, more bright"), though an element yanta- is compared to Gnomish gantha- "more" in a very early wordlist compiled by Tolkien (see Parma Eldalamberon No. 11 p. 37, where the misreading "yonta" occurs; this error was pointed out in Parma Eldalamberon No. 12 p. 106 - however, the latter source also states that yanta- is actually a verb "enlarge, increase", so this may not be a word for "more" after all).

©Helge Fauskanger