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    #1

    adjective following its noun

    Can a teacher explain to me, or point me to a discussion on the following topic? What is the English construct that allows an adjective to follow a noun? For example: "My brother-in-law, the notary public, is traveling to China proper to meet with the Attorney General." I've always wondered about this!

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    #2

    Re: adjective following its noun

    English teacher

    There are some fixed phrases in which adjectives come immediately after nouns. I’m afraid you have to learn them by heart.
    Examples:
    Court martial
    Poet Laureate
    God Almighty
    Attorney / Secretary General

    As to “proper”, when it comes after a noun it refers to the central or main part of something.

    Do you live in London proper or on the outskirts?
    I visited the city centre proper; it was crowded with a lot of tourists.

    When it comes before a noun, it means “real”, “genuine”, “right”, “correct”.

    The books should be in their proper place (the bookcase), not on that table.
    Eat proper meals instead of junk food.

    (The funny thing is that I teach English but I’m Italian).
    Hope this helps a bit.
    WW

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    #3

    Re: adjective following its noun

    [QUOTE What is the English construct that allows an adjective to follow a noun? [/QUOTE]


    NOT A TEACHER

    (1) If you can get a copy of the huge grammar book entitled A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Randolph Quirk and his colleagues, you will find a comprehensive (!) discussion about this matter. I have the 1,179-page 1985 edition. Pp. 418 - 419 discuss so-called postpositive adjectives.

    (2) I cannot share everything that he says because of space and, of course, because of copyright laws, which are very strictly enforced in many English-speaking countries.

    (3) May I just report one of the distinguished professors' points. I shall try to explain in my own words (to avoid copying copyrighted material!).

    (a) The professors tell us that some postpositive adjectives ending in -able or -ible give us the idea that something is NOT permanent:

    (Their examples) The stars visible/ The visible stars. The first term, they explain, refers to stars "that are visible at a time specified." [My note: So I guess that you would tell a friend, "Look up at the sky and name all the stars [that are currently] visible."]
    The second term refers "to a [permanent] category of stars that can (at appropriate times) be seen." [My note: So I guess that a teacher might say -- even if it were raining cats and dogs on test day -- "Today's test is to name all the visible stars in the sky. Good luck!"]
    They give these similar examples: rivers navigable/ navigable rivers.

    (4) I should imagine that if you google "postpositive adjectives," you will find a wealth of material. Do, please, especially check out the Google "books" section, which includes selections from many scholarly books.


    P.S. I forgot to credit Longman publishers in London and New York for this book.
    Last edited by TheParser; 15-Jan-2012 at 19:29.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: adjective following its noun

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser;844342
    (Their examples) The stars [B
    visible/ [/B]The visible stars. The first term, they explain, refers to stars "that are visible at a time specified." [My note: So I guess that you would tell a friend, "Look up at the sky and name all the stars [that are currently] visible."]

    The second term refers "to a [permanent] category of stars that can (at appropriate times) be seen." [My note: So I guess that a teacher might say -- even if it were raining cats and dogs on test day -- "Today's test is to name all the visible stars in the sky. Good luck!"]
    I'm really not sure I would ever say to someone "Look up at the sky and name all the stars visible". I would say either:

    Look up and name all the visible stars.
    OR
    Look up and name all the stars visible to the naked eye.

  2. shannico's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: adjective following its noun

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    [QUOTE What is the English construct that allows an adjective to follow a noun?

    NOT A TEACHER

    (1) If you can get a copy of the huge grammar book entitled A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Randolph Quirk and his colleagues, you will find a comprehensive (!) discussion about this matter. I have the 1,179-page 1985 edition. Pp. 418 - 419 discuss so-called postpositive adjectives.

    (2) I cannot share everything that he says because of space and, of course, because of copyright laws, which are very strictly enforced in many English-speaking countries.

    (3) May I just report one of the distinguished professors' points. I shall try to explain in my own words (to avoid copying copyrighted material!).

    (a) The professors tell us that some postpositive adjectives ending in -able or -ible give us the idea that something is NOT permanent:

    (Their examples) The stars visible/ The visible stars. The first term, they explain, refers to stars "that are visible at a time specified." [My note: So I guess that you would tell a friend, "Look up at the sky and name all the stars [that are currently] visible."]
    The second term refers "to a [permanent] category of stars that can (at appropriate times) be seen." [My note: So I guess that a teacher might say -- even if it were raining cats and dogs on test day -- "Today's test is to name all the visible stars in the sky. Good luck!"]
    They give these similar examples: rivers navigable/ navigable rivers.

    (4) I should imagine that if you google "postpositive adjectives," you will find a wealth of material. Do, please, especially check out the Google "books" section, which includes selections from many scholarly books.


    P.S. I forgot to credit Longman publishers in London and New York for this book.[/QUOTE]



    Available would make a great example!!!

    e.g. seats available/available seats.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: adjective following its noun

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm really not sure I would ever say to someone "Look up at the sky and name all the stars visible". I would say either:

    Look up and name all the visible stars.
    OR
    Look up and name all the stars visible to the naked eye.
    I'd be unlikely to say that too, but you might come across it in writing. I would almost certainly say "Look up and name all the stars you can see".

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: adjective following its noun

    "Look up at the sky and name all the stars visible".
    I can't imagine saying that either. I don't think I'd impose such a task on even a professional astronomer on a relatively bright night. But I don't think there's a problem with the sentence from a grammatical viewpoint.
    I think it's similar (grammatically) to "Take the name of all the students present."

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