Can an adjective go just after a noun?

The teachers present in the hall are my life saviours.

In this sentence is using 'present in the hall' right or should I say 'presenting in the hall'?

  • I think you should forget about "present" and (especially) about "presenting" (which means something different). Just say "the teachers in the hall". And probably "are my life saviours" is just a flowery way to say "saved my life". – Andreas Blass Aug 6 '17 at 6:03

Well, you could technically say either. But I doubt that you're trying to say that there are teachers in the hall showing a PowerPoint presentation.

In this instance, "present" is an adjective, not a verb, because it provides information about the noun ("teachers"). When "present" is an adjective, it is pronounced preh-zent (equal emphasis; sounds like the synoynm of "gift") rather than PREH-zent.

According to Wikipedia, it is a postpositively placed adjective:

In some languages the postpositive placement of adjectives is the normal syntax, but in English it is less usual, largely confined to archaic and poetic uses (as in They heard creatures unseen), phrases loaned from Italic languages, (such as heir apparent, aqua regia), and certain particular grammatical constructions (as in those anxious to leave).

  • 3
    I don't understand what you're trying to say with the bit about pronunciation, but present the adjective (‘not absent’) and present the noun (‘gift’) are both stressed on the first syllable, /ˡprɛzənt/ = PREH-zent. /ˡprɛˡzɛnt/ with equal stress on both syllables is not an English word—in fact, it’s phonotactically impossible in English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 5 '17 at 21:16
  • I disagree with Jacquet's comment. The verb "present' is spoken with an "ee" sound in the first syllable and slightly stronger stress on the second syllable. The adjective "present" is pronounced with an "eh" sound in the first syllable, which is given a strong stress. And is the comment saying that English does not permit stress on the last syllable of a word with two syllables. What is impossible? Does "it" have an antecedent? – Jeff Morrow Nov 4 '17 at 5:26
  • @JeffMorrow: Janus is saying that "present" is pronounced the same as noun and adjective, not as adjective and verb. And the comment about impossibility refers to Dog Lover's description of the word having "equal emphasis" on both syllables; as you say in your comment, the stress/emphasis is placed on the first syllable, not equally on both. – sumelic Nov 5 '17 at 7:32
  • +1, though I'd say the verb has the stress on the second syllable while the adjective has the stress on the first. – Lawrence Jan 3 '18 at 11:06

Present as an adjective can be used prenominally and postpositively with differences of meaning.

(prenominal) in existence at the moment in time at which an utterance is spoken or written.

(prenominal) now in consideration or under discussion:

the present topic; the present author.

(postpositive) being in a specified place, thing, etc:

the murderer is present in this room.


"The teachers present in the hall are my life saviours."

  • 3
    Perhaps see this post on adjectives here. Your pospositive example doesn't have a postpositive adjective, it has a predicative one. None of your examples use a postpositive adjective. – Araucaria Apr 7 '17 at 13:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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