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  1. Newbie
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • Scotland
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      • Japan

    • Join Date: Sep 2011
    • Posts: 8

    Adjectival verb usage


    The following sentence is a very basic sentence which I will expand upon:

    The baby is my cousin

    Below is the same sentence with an adjectival verb:

    The sleeping baby is my cousin OR The baby sleeping is my cousin

    Both of the above are correct right? I've placed the adjectival verb either side of the subject noun. Is this OK? To me it reads OK.

    Now this is where I don't know what the rule is. The following sentence includes a prepositional phrase as part of the subject:

    The baby sleeping in the bed is my cousin (OK)
    The sleeping in the bed baby is my cousin (strange)

    I don't know what the rule is if I want to teach it. Why in the above example must we put the adjectival verb after the noun? I'm trying to teach to Japanese students who would be used to the noun being spoken as "baby", "sleeping baby" and "in bed sleeping baby" in their native language; however, they wouldn't put the adjectival verb after the noun such as "baby sleeping in the bed" but in the examples I've given above (with and without the prepositional phrase) sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. Is it because of the existence of a prepositional phrase?

    Thanks for your help

    Last edited by bizt; 06-Dec-2011 at 01:56.

  2. VIP Member
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    Re: Adjectival verb usage

    I can't help you with the rule but I just want to remark that this phenomenon is not restricted to what you call adjectival verbs. Perfectly regular adjectives are also infected.

    Men taller than six feet always wear earrings.
    I met a woman similar to you.
    I met a woman stricken with grief.
    (I don't know if you consider "stricken" an adjectival verb here)
    I'm in a room full of people.

  3. VIP Member
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    Re: Adjectival verb usage

    The baby sleeping is my cousin
    Just a comment that this sounds to me like there is more than one baby and you are distinguishing this baby by saying "the baby sleeping is my cousin."

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