Someone new
Anybody else
Something good

I've never thought about it, but why does the adjective follow the noun it modifies? Is there a technical term for this?

  • Because reduced relative clauses. Though that isn't the case with else; that's a special case of what I guess could be called Obviative, though that's not a term used in English grammar. Sep 18, 2015 at 20:54
  • 1
    @JohnLawler Good idea to see such structures as reduced relative clauses.
    – rogermue
    Sep 18, 2015 at 21:47
  • @rogermue: They come in handy for a lot of things that are otherwise quite difficult to describe, let alone (attempt to) explain. Sep 18, 2015 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


"Some" is a determiner, and adjectives follow determiners: "some good beer" but not *"good some beer". "Something" is a single word, and adjectives can't be put inside words. So the only place the adjective can go in "something" is at the end: "something good".


"Someone, anybody, something" are no nouns, but indefinite pronouns. Nouns can be used with an article and normally have a plural. You can't say "the someone" or "someones". "Something new, something interesting" have the correct order of words and such structures can be derived from reduced relative clauses as John Lawler explained in his comment above. So "something new" derives from "something that is new".

Though I know such structures because they are the same in German I never thought about how they evolved. My thanks to John Lawler for helping out.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.