Adjective Position‏‎ in English Grammar

Parts Of Speech

A girl standing by a stone wall, looking anxious.This article looks at the Position of Adjectives in a phrase‏‎.

In English‏‎, unlike many other languages, adjectives‏‎ generally come before the noun they describe:

{adjective} + {noun}

These are called attributive adjectives.

brown wall

young girl

And so on. We can also put adjectives after a verb‏‎. These are called predicative adjectives:

{verb} + {predicative adjective}

The wall is brown.

The girl is young.

Most adjectives can be used in either position, but some adjectives are either attributive or predicative, not both. For example, alone is a predicative adjective; it can only follow a verb:

The girl feels alone.

* She is an alone girl.

* an asterisk shows the sentence is not good English

With the example above if we want to describe the girl we have to use an attributive adjective instead and say:

She is a lonely girl.

Nouns as Adjectives

When we use a noun as an adjective, it is usually attributive only:

{noun as attributive adjective} + {noun}

a table leg

football hooligans

For more on nouns used as adjectives, see Adjectives as Nouns‎ & Vice Versa.

Image © tim caynes

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