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  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Attributive Adjectives

    What attributive adjectives are there in English? I was asked this in class the other day and the only one I could think of off-hand was 'elder' What others are there? I'd like to be able to rattle off a few if asked again.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Attributive Adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    What attributive adjectives are there in English? I was asked this in class the other day and the only one I could think of off-hand was 'elder' What others are there? I'd like to be able to rattle off a few if asked again.
    Because of the way you asked the question, can I assume that you mean adjectives that are only attributive?

    If so, there are very few, in my opinion. Still, if you will accept some that attributive in at least one, but not all senses, there are some.

    Almost all nouns that are used as adjectives are attributive only. Now, I know that a noun is a nioun, but some have transitioned into more than one part of speech. "Jazz" is an example. It is a legitimate adjective and it can't be used as a predicate adjective. Other noun-adjectives such as football in football helmet, etc. could be used as well.

    The adjective "sheer" in the sense of "pure" is only attributive. Some senses of "plain" are attributive. Numbers, as adjectives, are almost always attributive if not always. Present participles/gerunds used as adjectives would be confused with progressive verbs if used in the predicate.

    Are these of any help?

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Are there any other utterly straight ones like 'elder'? There what I'm looking for. Good points, though, and thanks.

    I'd just like to be able to trot a few out to pretend I know what I'm talking about.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Are there any other utterly straight ones like 'elder'? There what I'm looking for. Good points, though, and thanks.

    I'd just like to be able to trot a few out to pretend I know what I'm talking about.
    How about principal, chief, main, cardinal?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Trust the Pope to think of 'cardinal'. Thanks a million.

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    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Trust the Pope to think of 'cardinal'. Thanks a million.
    I'll keep trying. There may be more.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    It's a surprisingly small group, though.

  8. #8
    infinikyte Guest

    Default

    Try....

    eldest 8)

    live (referring to "not dead")

    old (referring to relationship)

    little (as opposed to "small" in the predicate)

    bloody (referring to degree of something)

    mere

    .... and a whole bunch of intensifiers

    Check out Practical English Usage by M Swan, p.9

  9. #9
    Bartosz Cierach Guest

    Default Re: Attributive Adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    What attributive adjectives are there in English? I was asked this in class the other day and the only one I could think of off-hand was 'elder' What others are there? I'd like to be able to rattle off a few if asked again.
    There are many adjectives that are used in attributive position only, for example: criminal lawyer is not the same as the lawyer is criminal, presidential palace, etc.

  10. #10
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    What he did was criminal.

    These can be used in either position.

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