What are some pro-adjectives? That is, a pro-form that can substitute (satisfy the substitution test with) an adjectival phrase? A Google search brought up "such", but was otherwise unfruitful. Are there any others?

Edit: As pointed out in the comments, "so" is mentioned in the first Wikipedia link above, but I think that "so": (1) can also substitute for units larger than an adjectival phrase such as a clause (e.g. "if so"), defeating the purpose of the test, and, (2) when it substitutes for an adjective, it is limited to comparatives.

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    The Wikipedia page you link mentions: so as in "It is less so than we had expected."
    – Stuart F
    Mar 17, 2023 at 12:29
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    This is an interesting question. We don't normally use pro-forms to transform, for example, "That car was fast" to "That car was ___". Perhaps it's because adjectives add colour to nouns while pro-forms do the opposite, so using a pro-form in place of an adjective or adjectival phrase defeats the purpose of using an adjective at all. However, your suggestion of "so" or "such" might work in a context such as "That car was fast. It was so because the driver was being pursued."
    – Lawrence
    Mar 17, 2023 at 18:35
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    So/Such ... that S is a construction that requires a baseline clause. It's not really a pro-form; so modifies predicate adjectives and such predicate nouns. English pro-adjectives are usually phrases like that way. Mar 18, 2023 at 1:55
  • "Such" fails your substitution test: "such a person" but not "smart a person."
    – alphabet
    Mar 19, 2023 at 4:12
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    @alphabet It actually passes if you don't consider word order to be part of the test. ("I need a smart person. She is such a person." -> "She is a smart person.") In any case, such a test (i.e., a substitution test) is really just an aid; OP probably overstated its usefulness in identifying pro-adjectives. Mar 19, 2023 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


The only pro adjective I can come up with is such. For example, Mr. Williams is a dedicated employee, which jobs need SUCH people working for them.

In this sentence, such serves as a pro form or pro adjective, substituting the adjective dedicated.

Actually, that is the only word I can think of as a pro adjective.

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    Dec 6, 2023 at 22:38
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    You edited the wrong answer by mistake. Please edit this one, which isn't deleted.
    – Laurel
    Dec 6, 2023 at 22:53

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