Attributive adjectives after nouns

February 23, 2011pdf

Most adjectives can go in two main places in a sentence: in attributive position and predicative position.

In attributive position, an adjective comes before the noun it modifies.

  • She is a nice girl.
  • She married a rich businessman.

In predicative position, an adjective goes after the verb.

  • She is nice.
  • He looked upset.

While attributive adjectives usually go before the nouns, a few can be used after nouns. This, for example, happens in some fixed phrases.

  • Secretary General
  • Poet Laureate
  • Attorney General
  • Court martial

Some adjectives ending in -able/-ible can also be used after nouns.

  • It is the only solution possible.
  • Book all the tickets available.

After something, everything etc.

Adjectives come after words like something, everything, anything, nothing, somebody, anywhere etc.

  • I would like to go somewhere quiet. (NOT I would like to go quiet somewhere.)
  • I heard something interesting today. (NOT I heard interesting something today.)

In most expressions of measurement adjectives come after the measurement noun.

  • ten years older (NOT Older ten years) (NOT ten older years)
  • six feet deep
  • two miles long

Verb + object + adjective

Adjectives can be placed after the object.

  • You make me happy.
  • Can you get the children ready for school?
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