adjective or noun?

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hendypanoply

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In the sentence, "The game is baseball.", is baseball an adjective or a noun?
 

TheParser

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In the sentence, "The game is baseball.", is baseball an adjective or a noun?

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Good morning, Hendypanoply.

(1) I think that all books would classify "baseball" as a noun

in your sentence. It refers to "game." That is, the game = baseball;

baseball = the game.

(2) But in "The baseball game has started," I believe that most books

call this a noun that is being used as an adjective. That is, it tells us

what kind of game: good game/ bad game/ baseball game.

Have a nice day!
 

corum

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But in "The baseball game has started," I believe that most books

Here, "baseball" is a noun regarding its word category, and it functions adjectivally (premodifies another noun).
 

Abstract Idea

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I thank the posters above TheParser and corum for their replies.
OK, ordinarily "baseball" is a noun and in the other example it functions adjectivally.

But regarding the original sentence:
In the sentence, "The game is baseball.", is baseball an adjective or a noun?

If we compare to sentences like:
- The girl is beautiful.
- The book is interesting.
- The car is red.

I don't any difference in the structure. Why 'beautiful', 'interesting' and 'red' above should be adjectives and 'baseball' in the original sentence a noun?

What about the following 'adjective test':
The girl is beautiful - a beautiful girl.
The book is interesting - an interesting book.
The car is red - a red car.
The game is baseball - a baseball game.
 

Abstract Idea

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What about the following 'adjective test':
The girl is beautiful - a beautiful girl.
The book is interesting - an interesting book.
The car is red - a red car.
The game is baseball - a baseball game.


We may also try to negate the examples above:
The girl is not beautiful, she is ugly.
The book is not interesting, it is boring.
The car is not red, it may be white, black or yellow.
The game is not baseball, it may be soccer, chess or noun-adjective-guess.

I really can't see any difference. It looks like 'baseball' in 'The game is baseball' works as an adjective. And if we follow this line, then also 'soccer', 'chess' and 'noun-adjective-guess' should be considered adjectives in the last example above.
 

philo2009

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We may also try to negate the examples above:
The girl is not beautiful, she is ugly.
The book is not interesting, it is boring.
The car is not red, it may be white, black or yellow.
The game is not baseball, it may be soccer, chess or noun-adjective-guess.

I really can't see any difference. It looks like 'baseball' in 'The game is baseball' works as an adjective. And if we follow this line, then also 'soccer', 'chess' and 'noun-adjective-guess' should be considered adjectives in the last example above.

Your confusion here stems, I would imagine, from the fact that members of ANY of the three word classes noun, adjective and adverb can fulfill the role of complement, to wit:

Tom is a boy. (NP)
Tom is tall. (ADJ)
Tom is here. (ADV)

- all different parts of speech and yet all complementing 'is'.

Thus the simple fact of standing as complement to a copula tells us essentially nothing about the grammatical status of a word, which we must therefore reckon according to the normal common-sense methods (on which I am sure I need not elaborate here!).

'Baseball' is a NOUN and can never be anything else. Even if we employ it adnominally - as in 'the baseball game' - it is simply an attributive noun, never a (true) adjective!
 

Abstract Idea

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Your confusion here stems, I would imagine, from the fact that members of ANY of the three word classes noun, adjective and adverb can fulfill the role of complement, to wit:

Tom is a boy. (NP)
Tom is tall. (ADJ)
Tom is here. (ADV)

- all different parts of speech and yet all complementing 'is'.

Thus the simple fact of standing as complement to a copula tells us essentially nothing about the grammatical status of a word, which we must therefore reckon according to the normal common-sense methods (on which I am sure I need not elaborate here!).

'Baseball' is a NOUN and can never be anything else. Even if we employ it adnominally - as in 'the baseball game' - it is simply an attributive noun, never a (true) adjective!

Thank you very much philo2009. Now it is much clearer for me.

Before reading your post, the only difference I could see in the examples above came from translation.
In Portuguese we say:

- A menina é bonita. (The girl is beautiful.)
- O livre é interessante. (The book is interesting.)
- O carro é vermelho. (The car is red.)
- O jogo é de baseball. (The game is baseball.)

So in Portuguese the preposition "de" makes the difference (jogo de baseball, jogo de xadrez, jogo de damas, etc). This preposition could be translated as something like "of" - The game is *of baseball.

Also in Portuguese we have two different verbs corresponding to the English "be", namely "ser" or "estar":
- Tom is tall - Tom é alto. (ser)
- Tom is here - Tom está aqui. (estar)

Once more thank you very much for your reply.
 

philo2009

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Thank you very much philo2009. Now it is much clearer for me.

Before reading your post, the only difference I could see in the examples above came from translation.
In Portuguese we say:

- A menina é bonita. (The girl is beautiful.)
- O livre é interessante. (The book is interesting.)
- O carro é vermelho. (The car is red.)
- O jogo é de baseball. (The game is baseball.)

So in Portuguese the preposition "de" makes the difference (jogo de baseball, jogo de xadrez, jogo de damas, etc). This preposition could be translated as something like "of" - The game is *of baseball.

Also in Portuguese we have two different verbs corresponding to the English "be", namely "ser" or "estar":
- Tom is tall - Tom é alto. (ser)
- Tom is here - Tom está aqui. (estar)

Once more thank you very much for your reply.

It seems that Portuguese is more 'transparent' than English in this regard!
 

hendypanoply

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***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Good morning, Hendypanoply.

(1) I think that all books would classify "baseball" as a noun

in your sentence. It refers to "game." That is, the game = baseball;

baseball = the game.

(2) But in "The baseball game has started," I believe that most books

call this a noun that is being used as an adjective. That is, it tells us

what kind of game: good game/ bad game/ baseball game.

Have a nice day!

So can we call this noun an adjective?
In the sentence,"The baseball game has started", has started has to be the verb.
 

hendypanoply

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Your confusion here stems, I would imagine, from the fact that members of ANY of the three word classes noun, adjective and adverb can fulfill the role of complement, to wit:

Tom is a boy. (NP)
Tom is tall. (ADJ)
Tom is here. (ADV)

- all different parts of speech and yet all complementing 'is'.

Thus the simple fact of standing as complement to a copula tells us essentially nothing about the grammatical status of a word, which we must therefore reckon according to the normal common-sense methods (on which I am sure I need not elaborate here!).

'Baseball' is a NOUN and can never be anything else. Even if we employ it adnominally - as in 'the baseball game' - it is simply an attributive noun, never a (true) adjective!

Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?
How about if I said, "I like chocolate chip cookies"? Wouldn't chocolate chip become the adjective describing the kind of cookie that I like?
If I then said, "The cookie is choclate chip," why shouldn't it be an adjective?
(What is a complement to a copula?)
 

philo2009

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Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?
How about if I said, "I like chocolate chip cookies"? Wouldn't chocolate chip become the adjective describing the kind of cookie that I like?
If I then said, "The cookie is choclate chip," why shouldn't it be an adjective?
(What is a complement to a copula?)

The issue here is one of definition. According to a somewhat simplistic, traditional classification system, the term 'adjective' can be applied to any modifier to the noun, which would naturally include attributive nouns and even definite and indefinite articles.

Grammarians nowadays, however, tend to find it more helpful and accurate to reserve the term 'adjective' (unless otherwise specified) for the class of words that we would consider to be more 'archetypal' representatives of that group, e.g. noun-modifiers such as 'red, tall, happy' which share a common core of morphological and syntactic properties (e.g. the ability to be modified in their turn by an adverb such as 'very') that attributive nouns do not (so that we cannot say, for example *very baseball or *very chocolate).

Thus, to answer one of your questions, 'chocolate', by the lights of the contemporary definition outlined above, would fail to be classified as an adjective, no matter what its sentence position.

A copula can be roughly defined as a verb such as 'be' which can be directly followed by a noun that is not its object (as well as by a variety of other form-classes, as indicated in my previous post). A complement is any typically obligatory word or phrase that completes a phrase, clause or sentence.
 

Abstract Idea

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The issue here is one of definition.

Finally someone who agrees with me in this point! Not only in this particular thread regarding adjectives, but in many other threads here I see people arguing just because they use conflicting definitions and want theirs to be the "right" one. It is really important that people pay more attention to the role of definitions in studying language structures.

Thanks for your clear explanation philo2009.


Is "chocolate" a noun that can never be anything else?
In the sentence "I like chocolate better than ice cream," it is a noun, but if I say, "I like chocolate chips," isn't chocolate an adjective and chips the noun, or is chocolate also an attributive noun?

Once more I would like to emphasize the translation tool, just to show that in a different language the difference could become apparent.
In Portuguese one would say:
Eu gosto de biscoitos de chocolate. (I like chocolate biscuits - chocolate is not an adjective)
Eu gosto de biscoitos doces. (I like sweet biscuits - sweet is an adjective)
I suggest the following task: try to translate some phrases in the google translator from English to Portuguese similar to the above ones and look for the particle "de".

OK, you may accuse me of cheating (using another language), I admit, but I guess it was something worth pointing out.
 
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Abstract Idea

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I have just remembered that in German it is much easier to tell a noun from an adjective - in German all nouns begin with a capital letter, always. So translating to German could give us a clue.

Die Schokolade Cookies. (The chocolate cookies.) Note the capital Schokolade - a noun.
Die süße Cookies. (The sweet cookies.) Here it is not capitalized: süße - an adjective.

I am sure it is pretty easy to find many other similar examples in German.
(Again you may say I am cheating, but once more I found it worth pointing out.)

 

rfritch

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In the sentence, "The game is baseball.", is baseball an adjective or a noun?

The game = the subject of your sentence.
Is = linking verb
baseball = is your predicate nominative.
Baseball is linked back to your subject through your linking verb to describe or define your subject.

Predicate adjectives are easy to locate. Just say "very" between your linking verb and your predicate complement. If it makes sense, it's a predicate adjective.

For example: The game is exciting. The game is very exciting. It makes sense, so exciting is a predicate adjective.
Now try it with your sentence. The game is baseball.
The game is very baseball. It does not make sense. Baseball is also a thing; therefore, baseball cannot be an adjective.

Very usually works as a test. :-D
 

elhithebest

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The game = the subject of your sentence.
Is = linking verb
baseball = is your predicate nominative.
Baseball is linked back to your subject through your linking verb to describe or define your subject.

Predicate adjectives are easy to locate. Just say "very" between your linking verb and your predicate complement. If it makes sense, it's a predicate adjective.

For example: The game is exciting. The game is very exciting. It makes sense, so exciting is a predicate adjective.
Now try it with your sentence. The game is baseball.
The game is very baseball. It does not make sense. Baseball is also a thing; therefore, baseball cannot be an adjective.

Very usually works as a test. :-D



I´ve read all the quotes above and I think all of them are very helpful, there are some definitions which I hadn´t heard before.
I don´t know if it helps or if it´s been said before in other words, but i´ve been taught of some nouns functioning as adjectives maybe this is one example.
It might be more helpful if hendypanoply the whole sentence.

to know the context, makes things easier.
 
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