Adjectives Used Predicatively

Adjectives Used Predicatively :

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.

For instance…

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)


  1. The Adjective
  2. An Adjective
  3. Attribute Position of Adjective
  4. Predicative Position of Adjective
  5. Kinds of Adjectives
  6. Proper Adjectives
  7. Descriptive Adjectives
  8. Quantitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quantity )
  9. Qualitative Adjectives ( Adjectives of Quality )
  10. Numeral Adjectives ( Adjectives of Number )
  11. Definite Numeral Adjectives
  12. Indefinite Numeral Adjectives
  13. Demonstrative Adjectives ( Demonstrative Adjective )
  14. Definite Demonstrative Adjectives
  15. Definite Demonstratives
  16. Indefinite Demonstrative Adjectives
  17. Indefinite Demonstratives
  18. Distributive Adjectives
  19. Interrogative Adjectives
  20. Exclamatory Adjectives
  21. Possessive Adjectives
  22. Possessive Determiners
  23. First Person Possessive Adjectives
  24. Second Person Possessive Adjectives
  25. Third Person Possessive Adjectives
  26. Emphasizing Adjectives
  27. Coordinate Adjectives
  28. Paired Adjectives
  29. Cumulative Adjectives
  30. Non-Coordinate Adjectives
  31. Two Uses of Adjectives
  32. Attributive Use of Adjectives
  33. Predicative Use of Adjectives
  34. The Degrees of Comparison
  35. Comparison of Adjectives
  36. Latin Comparatives of Adjectives
  37. Irregular Comparisons of Adjectives
  38. Formation of Comparatives and Superlatives
  39. Formation of Comparative and Superlative
  40. Uses of Quantitative Adjectives
  41. Uses of Numeral Adjectives
  42. Definite Numeral Quantities
  43. Uses of Demonstrative Adjectives
  44. Uses of Distributive Phrases
  45. Uses of Distributive Adjectives
  46. Example Sentences with suitable Adjectives
  47. Uses of Degrees of Comparison of Adjectives
  48. Uses of Positive Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  49. Uses of Comparative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  50. Uses of Superlative Degree of Comparison of Adjectives
  51. Use of The Comparative Degree
  52. OTHER after Positives and Comparatives
  53. Preferables in English Grammar
  54. Double Comparatives
  55. Double Superlatives
  56. Comparatives which have lost their force
  57. Latin Comparatives
  58. English Comparatives
  59. Adjectives used as Nouns
  60. Adjectives in Pairs
  61. Adjectives preceded by THE
  62. Position of Adjectives
  63. Adjectives Used Attributively
  64. The Adjective Clause

Adjectives Used Predicatively :

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