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Questions tagged [adjectives]

Adjectives are just one of several different types of noun modifiers, typically used to premodify or describe a noun. Do not confuse adjectives with nouns used attributively to modify other nouns. Adjectives have comparative and superlative degrees, can be used as predicate adjectives in copulae, and can themselves be modified by intensifiers and adverbs but not by other adjectives. Nouns in attribution fail all those tests.

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303 votes
6 answers
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What is the rule for adjective order?

I remember being taught that the correct order of adjectives in English was something along the lines of "Opinion-Size-Age-Color-Material-Purpose." However, it's been a long time and I'm pretty sure ...
RegDwigнt's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
6k views

Agreement With Compound Subjects Joined by And

I was surfing the internet the other day when I found this phrase: Instead your precious time and attention is wasted. To my ears, it sounds wrong. But I'm not a native English speaker, so I consulted ...
Jose's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it correct to hyphenate with compound premodifiers? If so, where is the hyphen placed?

For example, "file system" and "related". Is it "file system-related"? It will appear as if it is a compound of "file" and "system-related", won't it?
Louis Rhys's user avatar
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39 votes
4 answers
20k views

Pluralization rule for "five-year-old children", "20 pound note", "10 mile run"

Why are year, pound and mile in the singular form in the phrases below? five-year-old children 20 pound note 10 mile run Is that because they're acting as adjectives, which are always invariable in ...
b.roth's user avatar
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72 votes
8 answers
254k views

How do you handle "that that"? The double "that" problem

Have you ever had a case where you felt compelled to include strange things like a double that in a sentence? If so, then what did you do to resolve this? For me, I never knew whether it was ...
Volomike's user avatar
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166 votes
4 answers
850k views

"More clear" vs "Clearer": when to use "more" instead of "-er"?

Which one of these adjectives is correct? I can see that both of them are being used, I'm just not sure which one is grammatically correct. Are there any general rules to follow as to the use of one ...
Mysterion's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is the noun "points" used as an adjective in "a points victory"?

I read this recently in The Economist: At the end of the summit, the French and European officials had claimed a points victory over the Germans by getting them to agree more firmly to a target date ...
zwangxian's user avatar
  • 647
31 votes
6 answers
6k views

Are the rules regarding absolute adjectives too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
434k views

Conundrum: "cleverer" or "more clever", "simpler" or "more simple" etc

I know the rule for making the comparative and superlative form for two-syllable words ending in y, replace the -y with i and use -er and -est: hap.py → happier → (the) happiest ti.dy → tidier → (...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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33 votes
4 answers
3k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say: I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services. It doesn't look right, ...
NimChimpsky's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
209 views

"than it's worth" adjective or noun

It's more headache than it's worth. It's more trouble than it's worth. Is this "worth" adjective or noun? I think the adjective "worth" needs an object after it. However, there is ...
Ran's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
4k views

"not as" versus "less"

English speakers seem to prefer "less powerful" over "not as powerful", and "not as big" over "less big". There's at least a ten-to-one ratio in both cases—See this Google Ngram. There also seems to ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
19 votes
7 answers
13k views

"How big of a problem" vs. "how big a problem"

Quite a few phrases in English are constructed like so: How [adjective] a [noun]...? This is the question form of the construction, which is often answered with the negative: Not that [...
Jez's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

"A place nearby" but not "A place good"

I can ask any of: Do you know a breakfast place nearby? Do you know a nearby breakfast place? Do you know a good breakfast place? but I really can't ask: Do you know a breakfast place good? ...
jabrew's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

"You're too clever a man"

You're too clever a man to imagine this. The above sentence was said by George Galloway, a man of excellent rhetorical skills. Since he said it, I doubt it's wrong, grammatically. But, I wonder if ...
Bright Polyglot's user avatar
36 votes
5 answers
11k views

Indefinite articles used with plural nouns: It was AN amazing TWO DAYS

The indefinite article a(n), derives from the old English word an meaning "one". Generally this word only occurs in determiner function before noun phrases which are singular. However, there seem to ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
14 votes
7 answers
14k views

Is "running" a gerund or a participial adjective?

An enlightening experiment Google Books yields only 39 results, and instead asks me if I wanted to say “an enlightening experience”, and eagerly shows an impressive 10,000 results when I click on ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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13 votes
5 answers
14k views

Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
Daniel's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is the difference between "good" and "well"

Most of the time, I use good and well interchangeably. However, on many occasions I would find well or good a misfit. Please suggest the proper usage.
Anderson Silva's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
20k views

Use of comma separating two adjectives

If I had the phrase two blond haired, blue eyed people would the comma be out of place? should I hyphenate "blond haired" and "blue eyed"?
itdoesntwork's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

To infinitive used after adjective

This question is relatively simple. I don't understand why we never use passive form of to infinitive after the adjective unless the subject is "it". For example: He is difficult to please. ...
Opaque's user avatar
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55 votes
5 answers
128k views

Should I use " related" or "-related"

What is the correct use of the term "related?" For example, should I use it like computer related, or is it more proper to use computer-related (where the word "computer" is just part of my example?)...
MikeSchinkel's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
6k views

"He is loved", is 'loved' an adjective or a verb? [duplicate]

He is loved. This is something that I've always kind of wondered. In a sentence like this, is loved a verb or an adjective? Can it be considered either?
Whatever's user avatar
24 votes
3 answers
57k views

Difference between "classical" and "classic"

What's the difference between classical and classic? Should we say classic content in textbooks or classical content in textbooks?
Computist's user avatar
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47 votes
5 answers
164k views

What is the difference between "electric" and "electrical" and their usage?

What is the difference between electric and electrical and their usage? For example, what is the difference between "electrical machine" and "electric machine"?
Computist's user avatar
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40 votes
3 answers
13k views

Why are not "infamous" and "inflammable" the opposite of "famous" and "flammable"?

Why are not infamous and inflammable the opposite of famous and flammable, like incomplete, inactivity, inappropriate and so on?
user733's user avatar
  • 503
19 votes
3 answers
22k views

"Above"/"below" before/after a noun

I have seen sentences similar to the following: (1) See the reference above. (2) See the reference below. And, (3) See the above reference. But not, (4) See the below reference. Are all these ...
Gnubie's user avatar
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15 votes
6 answers
85k views

"I feel bad for you" versus "I feel badly for you"

What is the correct usage? Apparently it is "I feel badly", but but wouldn't that mean you have an inadequate ability to feel?
awesomeguy's user avatar
36 votes
3 answers
49k views

Is the use of a hyphen between "non" and an adjective strictly necessary?

Do I need to put a "-" between "non" and an adjective? As an example in physics we say "a non isolated photon", "non tight photon"... The context is very formal (paper publications and similar). Is ...
wiso's user avatar
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28 votes
18 answers
27k views

Noun for "person with intermediate skill"

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
Travis Webb's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Indefinite article in the "An [adjective] [number] [plural noun]" construction

I wasn't sure how best to phrase the title of this question. I'm interested in constructions of the following form: An estimated 50 people died in the bombing. 'An estimated' could be ...
Quppa's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does an adjective or longer modifier apply to both nouns when they are joined with 'and' [or 'or']?

Can you grab the blue shirts and socks? Is the above sentence stipulating that both the shirts and the socks are blue? Or only the shirts? At this stage, I am leaning towards the earlier (only the ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 349
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Order of [participial adjective] + [noun] string

I'm proof-reading a thesis by one of my friends and there's some recurring construct which I always mark as false but I'd like to check with you. In the comments I was told that the example I ...
elemakil's user avatar
  • 137
42 votes
16 answers
68k views

What is a word for a person who uses resources to the maximum?

Is there a word (or words) for a person who uses all resources to the maximum; for example, a person who keeps on using pencils even if they are very small?
anvi's user avatar
  • 421
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

When can an adjective be postposed?

I read this at the economist, and it's the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph. That is small consolation for an Israeli establishment still hankering after the much easier rapport it had with Egypt'...
zwangxian's user avatar
  • 647
23 votes
1 answer
39k views

Words pertaining to the senses and the corresponding disabilities

I need help on finding words relating to the senses/perception. I mean this in a neuronic/biological or philosophy-of-mind kind of way. A word for... pertaining to the senses (Is it sensory?) ...
user3035's user avatar
  • 231
20 votes
6 answers
57k views

"Magic" versus "magical"

Two-part question. We say magic wand and magical creature, and swapping the adjectives sound wrong, even if they are technically right. Are there rules about which one to use, or is this a classic &...
kontextify's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
742 views

The use of "real" in the following cases [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Real quick question If you listen real close... Can you swing by real quick... Sentences like the above two are what I often hear in daily life. If I didn't hear them ...
Terry Li's user avatar
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12 votes
18 answers
177k views

Is there a word that means 'deliberately ignorant, choosing to ignore the facts'?

I know what this word really means but I cannot help to think that ignorant also means he ignores his surrounding or the consequences of his actions. "He was ignorant, unwilling to warn the police ...
Bálint Juhász's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
14k views

Are there any patterns to observe in choosing the correct negative prefix to use?

Are there any patterns to observe in choosing the correct negative prefix to use, as in unbelievable, disproportionate, asymmetric, and intolerable? (There are other negative prefixes as well, but ...
AK01's user avatar
  • 253
12 votes
1 answer
10k views

Singular/plural Nouns as Adjectives [duplicate]

How do you know when to use singular or plural nouns if they're used as adjectives? i.e. 32-bit computer vs 32-bits computer? teacher union vs teachers union? wedding planner vs weddings ...
NoName's user avatar
  • 231
11 votes
3 answers
23k views

Hyphen or no hyphen when modifying an adjective with an intensifier / downtoner?

I have a sentence which has an object that is described with an adjective: We need to inform our interested patrons of this change. If I modify "interested" with "more" or "less", do I connect the ...
Nicole's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
8k views

What would you call a word that doesn't exist in or translate well into another language?

I've run into this situation several times, being a native Spanish speaker. There are some words you just can't translate into another language. Is there a particular word to describe this? I'm not ...
juanzack's user avatar
  • 163
7 votes
2 answers
8k views

Adjectives versus Noun Adjuncts [duplicate]

What determines whether something is a "noun adjunct" or just a garden-variety adjective? Does it matter in any meaningful way? Here is my hypothesis, but I can't find any authoritative source to ...
Lynn's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
2k views

In ‘catch me off guard’, is the ‘off guard’ an objective complement or adjective phrase?

In ‘catch me off guard’, is the ‘off guard’ an objective complement or adjective phrase that modifies ‘me’? My Great Uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off guard and force some magic out of me &...
Listenever's user avatar
  • 3,474
57 votes
19 answers
231k views

Is there a word to describe someone who tends to disagree with others only to upset them?

What's the word to describe someone who acts arrogantly and always disagrees with others unreasonably in order to upset people around him/her? [I'm not looking for adjectives like unpleasant, ...
user avatar
30 votes
11 answers
8k views

Single word for people who are like "a frog in the well"

Is there a single word describing someone who is like a frog in a well? The frog believes the well is the entire world. How can I describe people who think that their own small environment is the ...
Ankit's user avatar
  • 545
28 votes
7 answers
11k views

Is a lengthy combination of words with hyphens like “the worst not-technically-in-a-recession year in American history” a new fashion of writing?

I found a hyphenated word , “not-technically–in-a-recession” in the sentence of September 28 New York Times’ article titled “Why Obama Is Winning,” written by co-ed columnist, Ross Douthat. It reads: ...
Yoichi Oishi's user avatar
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21 votes
1 answer
21k views

Why "unequal" but "inequality"?

The opposite of "equal" is "unequal", yet there is no word "unequality". Why do we use "inequality" instead?
dave's user avatar
  • 3,755
18 votes
6 answers
155k views

What is the difference between "owing to" and "due to"?

"Due to" seems more common than "owing to" in modern English. Is "owing to" simply an old-fashioned way of saying the same thing, or is there a rule to using it?
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