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I've read in some English grammar books that the word above can only act as an adverb. It can never be used as an adjective in any context.

For example:

1) The above example explains it well.
2) The above given example explains it well.

Which one is correct?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Apr 30 '13 at 21:24

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Your grammar books are quite wrong; the above example is well attested in formal writing as well as informal usage. So is the above as a noun.

No one objects to using prepositional phrases as what used to be called predicate adjectives, and no one objects to a similar use of many bare prepositions:

Sartorius is above all that.
Such behavior is beyond the pale.
I am under the weather today.
The King, my lord, is within, and will be pleased to receive you.
The first officer is below; shall I summon him up?

It would be footling to describe these uses as anything but adjectival.

Old-fashioned writers like me prefer to place such preposition-based modifiers after the noun, which is where normally you place a full prepositional phrase employed adjectivally.

The enemy below
The vista beyond
A car outside

But that is a matter of taste rather than grammar in the strict sense. And there are established idioms in which prepositions are adjectival and do not take the following noun as their objects: through road, inside voice.

  • I am not a flatterer but I have to confess I learn from you in this site more than any other one everyday. You work better than any dictionary or arrogant English teacher for me! A big thanks! ( Please burn after reading! ) – Persian Cat Apr 30 '13 at 22:20
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    @PersianCat You are gracious. But I learned from my father, who was an arrogant English teacher - all English teachers are arrogant. My mama said so, and she was married to one. (She also said all English teachers think they're Hamlet.) – StoneyB Apr 30 '13 at 22:41
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    I would like to give a piece of advice when reading "My grammar says ...". Grammars are no Bible! It is not to believe what you find in grammars, it is to check whether the grammar is right. And it is astonishing how many inexact things or mere affirmations you find in grammars. If you use grammars you should be sure that the authors are reputed grammarians. Do not use old grammars or simple school grammars which simplify a lot of things. And in order to check whether grammars are right you have to read, to read a lot. – rogermue Feb 1 '14 at 5:29

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