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Thread: Adjectives

  1. #1
    Abu Faisal is offline Newbie
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    Thumbs up Adjectives

    Dear All,

    This is my first post, and hope to get constructive feedback from the members of the forum.

    I have always wondered why we can use some adjectives with the wh question words but we can't use others. For example, we always ask:

    How old are you? but never 'How young are you?'

    or
    How tall is he? but we don't ask like;

    How short is he? etc.

    Many thanks is advance. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Yours faithfully,

    Abu Faisal

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    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Adjectives

    It just seems to happen that in many pairs of opposites, one of the two is the 'default' adjective. It's possible to use the other, but only in particular contexts - for example:

    A. He's the shortest man I've ever seen.
    B. How short is he, then?



    Note that it is not just in wh- questions that we use the default form - He is six foot/1m 83 short tall.
    Mary is three years
    young old.

  3. #3
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    Bennevis is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Adjectives

    I can only guess why.

    How old are you?

    We keep getting older and not younger. So it's like asking: "How many years have you amassed"?

    How tall are you?
    We are born little. Then we start growing. We don't get shorter. We get taller. Of course, at some point the body stops growing. But we also get older until eventually we die.

    So it's like having a ceiling or a bar to go by.
    Last edited by Bennevis; 13-Sep-2011 at 22:00.

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