I have the following two examples:

  1. Our proposed cost is expensive.
  2. Our cost proposed is expensive.

Is there any difference between them? Or is the second sentence wrong?

  • 1
    I don't think the cost can be expensive. The cost of something can be high, which means that the something is expensive. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:06
  • Hi Armen Tsirunyan, I don't full understand what you mean. Could you explain clearly?
    – Thuan
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:07
  • 3
    I mean, the pen can be expensive, which means that its cost is high. Use the adjective expensive to describe the pen, not its cost. The cost cannot be expensive. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:19
  • I'm asking which difference between the two phrases "proposed cost" and "cost proposed". I'm not asking about how to use the word "cost"properly. Please consider my concern carefully.
    – Thuan
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:26
  • I know that you're not asking that. That's why I posted a comment rather than an answer. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:28

8 Answers 8


In English, the adjective (or a participle acting as a modifier) is usually placed before the noun it modifies. Thus, it would be more natural to say:

Our proposed cost is high.

Of course, there are exceptions to this pattern. See postpositive adjectives for more information.

  • To clarify: neither is ungrammatical; one is only more natural or common.
    – zpletan
    Commented Apr 15, 2012 at 12:58

As a rule of thumb:

  • put the adjective before the noun in most 'simple' cases
  • put adjectives after the noun when they are themselves part of a more complex phrase or clause, including if that means an implied relative clause.

So for example:

He is a tall man.

A man [taller than anyone I know].

A white face.

A face [white as the driven snow].

You can then get cases where an adjective actually represents an implied relative clause, e.g.:

The cost [that is proposed] is too high.

The cost [proposed] is too high.

In cases such as this last example, you superficially get an 'adjective' after a noun. But in reality, you can see that it is ostensibly verbal because e.g. it can be made progressive and/or have an agent introduced:

The cost [being proposed (by them)] is too high.

However, you could also use 'proposed' as a simple adjective before the noun. Notice in that case that it cannot be made progressive or have an agent introduced in English:

The proposed cost is too high.

*The being proposed cost is too high.

*The proposed by them cost is too high.


This is a rather difficult point. I once heard a rule along the lines of 'states precede, definitions follow', meaning that if you want to use a past participle to describe, it goes before the noun but if you want to use it to define the noun it must follow. Thus 'The concerned people' means something different from 'The people concerned'. it is not always possible to put the participle before the noun. so you can say a lost dog but not a found dog. See Michael Swan Practical English Usage p 403 (7th imp 1998).


Both are acceptable. Ex: The money earned was less than the money paid. The decorated room looks nice. Money earned= money that was earned ( reduced adjective)


"The cost proposed is..." is fine. "Our cost proposed is..." is awkward. This is because "The cost proposed is..." is the same as saying "The cost (which was) proposed is..." but you would not say "Our cost (which was) proposed..."


Since cost already implies expense it would be more common to say "Our proposed cost is high"

You could also say "the proposal is expensive" or "it is an expensive proposal"

  • Are the two words "proposed" be referred to passive voice ?
    – Thuan
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:18

Although "Our cost proposed is expensive." is not grammatically incorrect, it is a bit hard to follow and might not be what you are really trying to say. In the sentence "Our proposed cost is expensive." the topic is "Our proposed cost", where in "Our cost proposed is expensive." it is only "Our cost". Sentence 1 is straight forward, where sentence 2 eludes to evasiveness. The listener might interpret it as "Our cost[, as it is currently proposed,] is expensive." and wonder why the unsurety. Stick with sentence 1 (unless you are in a planning meeting where you are in a current argument to devise a "Proposed Cost")


Sometimes it is necessary to put past participle as an adjective after the noun. For example: The wars and political developments (that had been) occurred/ taken place in Indian history is not a concern of my research.

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