I am trying to explain to a colleague why the sentence:

Additional nine features were added to the dig

is incorrect.

I have said you can say "An additional nine features...", "Nine additional features..." instead, but they would like an explanation as of why.

I cannot think of how to explain the grammatical proof of why this is. She says she was taught never to use an article with a plural noun, I was trying to explain that this was not the case here.

Can anyone help explain this in terms of grammar.

  • 5
    You could certainly say 'Additional features were added ....'.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:14
  • 2
    Or "Additionally, nine features were added...".
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    Interesting -- "An additional nine features were added ..." or "Additional features were added ..." sounds OK, but "Additional nine features were added ..." really has a sour ring to it. Perhaps because the "nine" should logically come first: "Nine additional features were added ..."
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 22:36
  • @WS2: That's the answer. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 3:01

5 Answers 5


It has to do with the order of the adjectives.

For example, consider this sentence:

Happy nine men walk into a bar.

Both nine and happy are adjectives, but we are really intending nine to describe the happy men, not happy describing the nine men. I don't know if there's a specific term for this, but certain adjectives, like numbers, get special treatment in this way.

This is why the phrase:

Nine additional features....

is the correct phrase.

  • Not if 'added' follows. That's redundant, and this point seems to have been overlooked.
    – Ornello
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:00
  • Please see the comments under your answer for solid explanations as to why added is not redundant. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:04
  • 1
    A rabbi, a priest, and happy nine men walked into a bar.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 22:38
  • 4
    These things do indeed have rules.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 1:23
  • 1
    But you wouldn't say a happy nine men walked into a bar, either. This answer isn't really complete. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:57

I think the main problem with Additional nine features were added has to do with adjective order. As you pointed out, you can say nine additional features (because that's in the right order). *Additional nine features is in the wrong order and is therefore incorrect.

Ordinarily, your friend would have a point: You generally can't use the indefinite article with plural nouns (*a cars, *a children). However, this is an interesting case. According to Dictionary.com, the article a can be used

  1. indefinitely or nonspecifically (used with adjectives expressing number): a great many years; a few stars.

(Thanks to this question for help with that.)

Since additional is an adjective expressing number, it can take the indefinite article and come before nine. Otherwise, the construction is incorrect.

  • I don't think additional anyhow expresses a number, why do you think so?
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:09
  • Another thing is though it seems more natural and correct to put additional after nine, nine additional should still be correct and is intended to emphasize the importance of number being additional, rather than the objects (features).
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:11
  • @ArsenY.M. Did you read the linked question? It offers quite a few similar terms that express number. That might make it clear. Additional doesn't denote a specific number, but refers to the countable value of the noun that follows. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:12
  • @ArsenY.M. You're right, and that's why I mentioned that nine additional features works just fine (as long as there's no article). Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 21:12
  • 2
    @Arsen: it's not that additional represents a number, but nine expresses a number. You would say additional features without the an, but when you put nine in, you need an additional nine features. I think you have to consider additional nine as a single phrase representing a number here; you wouldn't say a funny nine features, because the adjective order is wrong; you would have to say nine funny features. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:51

Additional is an adjective here and whether you should put the an article or not depends on the subject, if it is in singular form then you need the article, otherwise no. Phrases like

An additional pair of shoes

can be confusing, since they denote many items, but actually the subject is still in singular form (pair in this example).

Also, to some extent I agree with @Ornello, additional and add do not sound well in the same clause, even though it is not grammatically wrong. You could say

Additional nine features were included in//appended to//inserted/incorporated/pushed into ...

In addition, nine features ...

Nine more/extra features were ...

  • "Additional nine features" is ungrammatical, as others have pointed out elsewhere in this thread. Moreover, this answer fails to address the pertinent matter of what adjectives can fill the Adj slot in "a(n) <Adj> <Numeral> <Noun>".
    – Rosie F
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 9:42

It is not wrong to say

Additional nine features were added to the dig

Just as it is not only not wrong, but expected, to say

  • Betting in the race course is in increments of 100 rupees. I had put in 300 rupees on the horse N'er Die. I feel strongly I should put in an additional 100 rupees on this horse.

  • Our agile engineering environment requires that we fulfill feature requests in blocks of five features for every sprint. For this week's sprint, we had planned to achieve fifteen features. However, Mohd Riduan's hardwork helped us put in an additional five features into the sprint cycle.

There are two modes of adjectival/adverbial descriptors.

  • sequential
    There are nine beautiful shiitake mushrooms.
    A persistently offensive car sales person.
  • parallel, where joins are separated by commas terminated with a conjunction:
    The tall, red, ugly and silly statue
    The short, stubby, ugly but pleasant salesman
    We need you to show proof of having had a high, stable or windfall income.
  • parallel but stated as sequential
    The short stubby ugly pleasant salesman

Commutativity: The property where symmetry is preserved, when the order of items are changed. Changing the order of items does not change the result or meaning.

Parallel and sequential-but-actually-parallel descriptors are commutative.

  • The silly, red, tall and ugly statue
  • The red, ugly, silly and tall statue

Sequential descriptors are non-commutative.

  • A persistently offensive sales car person. ???
  • A offensive car sales persistently person. ???

Sequentiality stack the meanings of descriptors one on top of another. Therefore, the following would carry different meanings.

  • Additional nine features were added
  • Nine additional features were added
  • 4
    I observe that in the two initial examples you give to support "additional nine features", you actually do use the indefinite article: "an additional 100 rupees", "an additional five features", and without it, these examples would sound just as wrong as "additional nine features". (It would also help substantiate your case if you could provide examples where this construct starts a sentence.)
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 0:19
  • 1
    I don't see how any of your examples back up your first sentence, which is incorrect. It's "An additional...".
    – user4683
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 11:22

I think this is the best way to say it:

'Nine features were added'. 'Additional' is redundant, since 'added' is already there.

'Adding additional weight'....does that make sense? Of course not! 'Adding weight' is sufficient.

If 'additional' is used, the word 'an' is required because it is a single quantity. It must be 'an additional nine' in a sentence such as: 'an additional nine soldiers were asked to stay behind.'

  • 3
    <All comments purged> Please don't argue about an answer in comments.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 22:09
  • additional implies that others were also added at some point
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 11:27
  • 1
    "Adding additional weight" is fine. "The car could carry 1000kg, so could easily handle an extra person, but adding additional weight could push it over the limit".
    – user4683
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 11:58
  • Nope. 'Adding weight (or 'more weight') could push it over the limit.'
    – Ornello
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 13:31
  • 1
    Also, the world seems to disagree with your premise.
    – SrJoven
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 15:50

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