This sentence is from the Cambridge dictionary: "There are risks inherent in almost every sport." inherent is an adjective, and it describes risks at there so as a second alternative "There are inherent risks in almost every sport." that should be more natural usage as I consider how I should use adjectives such as "red car", "green flag" etc.

If the first sentence is correct, could there anyone explain why Cambridge dictionary uses this word after the "risks"? This makes a difference because it affects how I use adjectives in sentences.

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    The sentence given in the dictionary contains (or can be seen as containing, at least) a reduced relative clause; it is equivalent to “There are risks which are inherent in every sport”. This is an especially common construction when you have an adjective that collocates with a prepositional phrase (like inherent in), but it can be used in other contexts as well. You wouldn’t generally use it for a simple adjective modifying a noun, though, so “*there are cars red” is ungrammatical, and “there are risks inherent” is at least questionable. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 22 '19 at 14:25
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    @JanusBahsJacquet, can you be persuaded to repost your comment as an answer? – jsw29 Jul 22 '19 at 15:39
  • Does this answer your question? The Order of Modification in English Nouns, Preceding or Succeeding? where tchrist's answer includes 'languages very different from English; ie languages [which are] very different from English' with what some analyse as whiz-deletion. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '19 at 19:16

Either sentence is acceptable. The difference is a question of where the inherent nature is being ascribed. Though it's a very minor emphasis.

The first sentence is emphasizing the inherent nature of the sport. It says "inherent in ... sport" meaning the sport is the source of the inherent nature.

The second is emphasizing the inherent nature to the risk. It says "inherent risks" meaning the inherent nature is part of the risk.

You could, perhaps, try to emphasize the inherent nature as being part of the relationships between the sport and the risk. You could write something like the following. "The presence of risk in sport is inherent." This emphasizes the relationship, presence, as having the inherent nature.

In this case it is a matter of preference. Unless you are specifically trying to make the very minor distinction. For example, you might be approaching it from the point of view of there being a resistant small set of risks that are difficult to remove or reduce. Or you might be approaching it from the view that we should be trying to reduce things to that resistant core, and keeping that core as small as reasonably achievable.

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Inherent in this context is an example of pretentious writing.


It would be easier and more natural to say that risks are present in almost every sport, or better yet: there are risks in every sport.

Inherent sounds awkward and out of place because it shouldn’t be there at all.

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    The word inherent does have a definite purpose here: it conveys that the risks follow from the nature of the sport, rather than being only loosely, contingently associated with it. – jsw29 Jul 22 '19 at 15:44
  • Present would be just as pretentious as inherent here (that is, a little bit perhaps, but not very), but sounds a lot less natural. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 22 '19 at 17:46
  • Inherent is a meaningless adjective here. The OP wanted guidance on how to use adjectives. To which I say: if the adjective conveys no additional information, leave it out. – Global Charm Jul 22 '19 at 18:59
  • Um... So you claim pretentious writing. And your support for this is a click-bait list site, which does not even contain the word "inherent" as an example. OK then. – puppetsock Jul 23 '19 at 16:51
  • The use of inherent in the OP’s example was driven by the same motivation that causes people to write oeuvre instead of works, as so nicely illustrated by ranker.com. Also, it appears that bloaty is now in the Wiktionary, so we’ll soon be able to apply it to adjectives as well as fast food. – Global Charm Jul 23 '19 at 17:26

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