I'm thinking about such a sentence:

He is a lawyer, arrogant and smart.


He is an idiot, arrogant and short-sighted.

Please note that here I just want to list the noun and the adjectives altogether, no casual relation between the noun and the adjectives (like he is arrogant and smart because he is a layer).

Though I think I've seen similar ones before, I'm not 100% sure whether it's correct or not.

So put it formally, is it grammatically correct to put nouns and adjectives together as a predicate?

  • 1
    Is he arrogant and smart because he's a lawyer, or is he arrogant and smart in addition to being a lawyer? Jul 15, 2018 at 16:38
  • Ah, I think I want to convey the latter via this sentence.
    – W.W.
    Jul 15, 2018 at 17:01
  • In that case, you probably want to recast the sentence for clarity. Either "He is arrogant and smart, in addition to be a lawyer" or "He is a lawyer as well as arrogant and smart." Jul 16, 2018 at 21:46
  • Yep, this definitely reads like @KennethOdle 's first analysis; as if it is defining "lawyer". It needs rewriting. Even "He is arrogant, smart, and a lawyer" works better.
    – user323578
    Apr 26, 2019 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


According to Dictionary.com

A single sentence can contain both predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives. For example, “She’s an engineer and is happy.” Here, the predicate nominative is engineer and the predicate adjective is happy.

She's happy in addition to being an engineer. If your sentence were "He is a lawyer and is smart," it would parallel the example. "He is a lawyer and is arrogant and smart." adds another adjective, but still parallels the example, and would convey what you want to convey.

But in your sentence you don't repeat the linking verb, so that arrogant and smart read as if in apposition to lawyer (I don't think adjectives can stand alone in apposition, but they read that way),and so further defining lawyer. Like "He is a lawyer, a shark." Which isn't what you want to convey.

Repeating the linking verb would make your meaning clear.


  • Okay, so you mean both (with and without the linking verb) are grammatically correct, and it's the verb that makes the difference about the real meaning?
    – W.W.
    Jul 16, 2018 at 11:47

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