Originally Posted by THE ADVANCED LEARNER'S DICTIONARY FO CURRENT ENGLISH WITH CHIESE TRANSLATION (1982)Originally Posted by Jiang
With regards to the dictionary entry above, in earnest is listed as a noun (n.) and yet within the examples provided, it functions as an adjective. What's that about?
Within the phrase prepositional phrase 'in earnest', 'earnest', a noun, means, solemn promise or pledge. To do something in earnest (adv.)means, to do something in which a solemn promise is madeto oneself and/or others.
As a noun, earnest has the following dictionary entry (Encarta):
earnest. n. a small advanced payment that confirms a contract; a sign, foretaste, pledge of something to come. (French erres, Latin arres, Greek arraboun 'pledges')
The difference between 'earnest' and 'earnestness' is this, the former is a pledge and the latter is a characteristic:
earnestness. n. an earnest and sincere feeling. The trait of being serious.
EX: Her earnestness is what makes her a great employee. (noun)
EX: The earnest was 35%. (noun)
All the best,