Adjectives Used Attributively :
Position of Adjectives
The position of an Adjective in relation to its Noun generally depends upon whether the
Adjective is used attributively or predicatively.
Adjectives Used Attributively
When an Adjective is used attributively, the invariable rule is to keep it as close as possible to the Noun which it qualifies. In prose the Adjective almost always precedes its Noun. In poetry, for the sake of rhyme or metre, it may be placed after its Noun.
1. A just man
2. The fifth class
3. Ten men
4. Bright prospects
5. Much pain
6. Other people
7. This rose
8. Rapid promotion
1. He sang to lords and ladies gay. (Scott)
2. The fir trees dark and high. (Hood)
When an Adjective is enlarged by some qualifying phrase, it must always be placed after its Noun.
1. A man dear to all
2. A matter too urgent to be put off any longer
3. A doctor well practised in all the arts of medicine and worthy of public confidence
4. Bread enough and to spare
When several Adjectives qualify the same Noun at once, the order of Adjectives has some connection with their closeness to the essential nature of the Noun.
1. A dirty, ugly, old woman (rather than an old, ugly, dirty woman)
2. A cheap well-printed English book (not An English, well-printed, cheap book)
Sometimes an Adjective is placed after its Noun for the sake of point or emphasis.
1. Things temporal are less precious than things eternal.
2. I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober.
3. The body natural and the body politic….
For the sake of emphasis or distinction an Adjective used as a qualifying title is placed after its Noun.
1. Alexander the Great
2. Yudhisthira the Just
3. Louis the Pious
4. Richard the Lion-hearted
5. Charles the Bold
6. India the Religious
To the same principle must be ascribed the position of the titles Elder and Younger.
1. Cato the Elder
2. Cato the Younger
There are certain stock phrases in which it has become idiomatic to place the Adjective after its Noun.
1. The body politic : The state or community
2. Heir apparent : one who by right of birth
The eldest son will succeed to the throne.
3. Lords Temporal and Spiritual : this is the distinction between those who are peers or lords by temporal or worldly rank and those who are lords by spiritual or ecclesiastical rank (bishops and archbishops).
4. Knight errant : a knight who made it his business to move from place to place in search of wrongs to be righted.
5. The sum total
6. price current
7. a fiend incarnate
8. point blank
9. things temporal
10. things eternal
Adjectives Used Predicatively
When an Adjective is used predicatively, it is placed after its Noun.
(a) When the Verb is Intransitive or in the Passive Voice…
1. All men are mortal.
2. He lay dead on the ground.
3. He became very rich.
4. He was considered wise. (Subjective Complement)
(b) When the Verb is Transitive and in the Active Voice….
1. My father left me poor, but well educated.
2. The judge declared him guilty. (Objective Complement)
But for the sake of emphasis we may place the Predicative Adjective (or Participle) first so as to draw more attention to it.
1. Great is Diana of the Ephesians. (New Testament)
2. Sweet are the uses of adversity. (Shakespeare)
- The Adjective
- An Adjective
- Attribute Position of Adjective
- Predicative Position of Adjective
- Kinds of Adjectives
- Proper Adjectives
- Descriptive Adjectives
Quantitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quantity )
- Qualitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quality )
- Numeral Adjectives ( Adjectives of Number )
- Definite Numeral Adjectives
- Indefinite Numeral Adjectives
- Demonstrative Adjectives ( Demonstrative Adjective )
- Definite Demonstrative Adjectives
- Definite Demonstratives
- Indefinite Demonstrative Adjectives
- Indefinite Demonstratives
- Distributive Adjectives
- Interrogative Adjectives
- Possessive Adjectives
- Possessive Determiners
- First Person Possessive Adjectives
- Second Person Possessive Adjectives
- Third Person Possessive Adjectives
- Emphasizing Adjectives
- Coordinate Adjectives
- Paired Adjectives
- Cumulative Adjectives
- Non-Coordinate Adjectives
- Two Uses of Adjectives
- Attributive Use of Adjectives
- Predicative Use of Adjectives
- The Degrees of Comparison
- Comparison of Adjectives
- Latin Comparatives of Adjectives
- Irregular Comparisons of Adjectives
- Formation of Comparatives and Superlatives
- Formation of Comparative and Superlative
- Uses of Quantitative Adjectives
- Uses of Numeral Adjectives
- Definite Numeral Quantities
- Uses of Demonstrative Adjectives
- Uses of Distributive Phrases
- Uses of Distributive Adjectives
- Example Sentences with suitable Adjectives
- Uses of Degrees of Comparison of Adjectives
- Uses of Positive Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
- Uses of Comparative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
- Uses of Superlative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
- Use of The Comparative Degree
- OTHER after Positives and Comparatives
- Preferables in English Grammar
- Double Comparatives
- Double Superlatives
- Comparatives which have lost their force
- Latin Comparatives
- English Comparatives
- Adjectives used as Nouns
- Adjectives in Pairs
- Adjectives preceded by THE
- Position of Adjectives
- Adjectives Used Predicatively
- The Adjective Clause
Adjectives Used Attributively :
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