Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 17 of 17
  1. #11
    hendypanoply is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    3
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Your confusion here stems, I would imagine, from the fact that members of ANY of the three word classes noun, adjective and adverb can fulfill the role of complement, to wit:

    Tom is a boy. (NP)
    Tom is tall. (ADJ)
    Tom is here. (ADV)

    - all different parts of speech and yet all complementing 'is'.

    Thus the simple fact of standing as complement to a copula tells us essentially nothing about the grammatical status of a word, which we must therefore reckon according to the normal common-sense methods (on which I am sure I need not elaborate here!).

    'Baseball' is a NOUN and can never be anything else. Even if we employ it adnominally - as in 'the baseball game' - it is simply an attributive noun, never a (true) adjective!
    Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
    In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?
    How about if I said, "I like chocolate chip cookies"? Wouldn't chocolate chip become the adjective describing the kind of cookie that I like?
    If I then said, "The cookie is choclate chip," why shouldn't it be an adjective?
    (What is a complement to a copula?)

  2. #12
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,507
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by hendypanoply View Post
    Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
    In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?
    How about if I said, "I like chocolate chip cookies"? Wouldn't chocolate chip become the adjective describing the kind of cookie that I like?
    If I then said, "The cookie is choclate chip," why shouldn't it be an adjective?
    (What is a complement to a copula?)
    The issue here is one of definition. According to a somewhat simplistic, traditional classification system, the term 'adjective' can be applied to any modifier to the noun, which would naturally include attributive nouns and even definite and indefinite articles.

    Grammarians nowadays, however, tend to find it more helpful and accurate to reserve the term 'adjective' (unless otherwise specified) for the class of words that we would consider to be more 'archetypal' representatives of that group, e.g. noun-modifiers such as 'red, tall, happy' which share a common core of morphological and syntactic properties (e.g. the ability to be modified in their turn by an adverb such as 'very') that attributive nouns do not (so that we cannot say, for example *very baseball or *very chocolate).

    Thus, to answer one of your questions, 'chocolate', by the lights of the contemporary definition outlined above, would fail to be classified as an adjective, no matter what its sentence position.

    A copula can be roughly defined as a verb such as 'be' which can be directly followed by a noun that is not its object (as well as by a variety of other form-classes, as indicated in my previous post). A complement is any typically obligatory word or phrase that completes a phrase, clause or sentence.

  3. #13
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,512
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    The issue here is one of definition.
    Finally someone who agrees with me in this point! Not only in this particular thread regarding adjectives, but in many other threads here I see people arguing just because they use conflicting definitions and want theirs to be the "right" one. It is really important that people pay more attention to the role of definitions in studying language structures.

    Thanks for your clear explanation philo2009.


    Quote Originally Posted by hendypanoply View Post
    Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
    In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?
    Once more I would like to emphasize the translation tool, just to show that in a different language the difference could become apparent.
    In Portuguese one would say:
    Eu gosto de biscoitos de chocolate. (I like chocolate biscuits - chocolate is not an adjective)
    Eu gosto de biscoitos doces. (I like sweet biscuits - sweet is an adjective)
    I suggest the following task: try to translate some phrases in the google translator from English to Portuguese similar to the above ones and look for the particle "de".

    OK, you may accuse me of cheating (using another language), I admit, but I guess it was something worth pointing out.
    Last edited by Abstract Idea; 08-Jun-2010 at 01:44.

  4. #14
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,512
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    I have just remembered that in German it is much easier to tell a noun from an adjective - in German all nouns begin with a capital letter, always. So translating to German could give us a clue.

    Die Schokolade Cookies. (The chocolate cookies.) Note the capital Schokolade - a noun.
    Die se Cookies. (The sweet cookies.) Here it is not capitalized: se - an adjective.

    I am sure it is pretty easy to find many other similar examples in German.
    (Again you may say I am cheating, but once more I found it worth pointing out.)


  5. #15
    rfritch is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by hendypanoply View Post
    In the sentence, "The game is baseball.", is baseball an adjective or a noun?
    The game = the subject of your sentence.
    Is = linking verb
    baseball = is your predicate nominative.
    Baseball is linked back to your subject through your linking verb to describe or define your subject.

    Predicate adjectives are easy to locate. Just say "very" between your linking verb and your predicate complement. If it makes sense, it's a predicate adjective.

    For example: The game is exciting. The game is very exciting. It makes sense, so exciting is a predicate adjective.
    Now try it with your sentence. The game is baseball.
    The game is very baseball. It does not make sense. Baseball is also a thing; therefore, baseball cannot be an adjective.

    Very usually works as a test.

  6. #16
    elhithebest is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    36
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by rfritch View Post
    The game = the subject of your sentence.
    Is = linking verb
    baseball = is your predicate nominative.
    Baseball is linked back to your subject through your linking verb to describe or define your subject.

    Predicate adjectives are easy to locate. Just say "very" between your linking verb and your predicate complement. If it makes sense, it's a predicate adjective.

    For example: The game is exciting. The game is very exciting. It makes sense, so exciting is a predicate adjective.
    Now try it with your sentence. The game is baseball.
    The game is very baseball. It does not make sense. Baseball is also a thing; therefore, baseball cannot be an adjective.

    Very usually works as a test.


    Ive read all the quotes above and I think all of them are very helpful, there are some definitions which I hadnt heard before.
    I dont know if it helps or if its been said before in other words, but ive been taught of some nouns functioning as adjectives maybe this is one example.
    It might be more helpful if hendypanoply the whole sentence.

    to know the context, makes things easier.

  7. #17
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,507
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: adjective or noun?

    [QUOTE=ymnisky;611682]Finally someone who agrees with me in this point!

    Thanks for your clear explanation philo2009.


Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] noun as adjective
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Jun-2009, 08:26
  2. Adjective or Noun?
    By chesda in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2006, 17:01
  3. Noun x Adjective
    By Emanuelli in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Jan-2005, 11:24
  4. adjective or noun?
    By jiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 21-Feb-2004, 18:48

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •