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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
144k views

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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166 votes
4 answers
849k 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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150 votes
11 answers
276k views

What is the difference between "complicated" and "complex"?

I can't understand: what's the difference between complicated and complex? They seem to be used interchangeably. Are they actually different at all?
Nobody's user avatar
  • 1,609
106 votes
12 answers
14k views

Why does "I was happy to do my homework" work, but "I was tired to do my homework" doesn't?

I'm teaching ESL, and I came across a question from one of my students that I don't know how to answer. Using the form "{subject} {verb} {adjective} {infinitive phrase}" we've been going over ...
Richard Winters's user avatar
98 votes
3 answers
144k views

"Maximum" vs. "maximal"

What is the difference in usage between maximum and maximal? When would you use one or the other? Maximum can be a noun or an adjective: This is the maximum it can be set to. This is the ...
nickf's user avatar
  • 2,019
88 votes
4 answers
87k views

"Updatable" vs. "Updateable": which is correct?

Which spelling is correct, "updatable" or "updateable"? For example, "The file is not updat(e)able." By the way, I did go to Google and ref.dic.com for this first, and they both seem to indicate ...
Nick Rolando's user avatar
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83 votes
6 answers
65k views

"Extensible" vs. "extendible"

Where does the adjective form extensible come from and does it connote anything different than extendible? What's the difference, if any, between the two?
AspWri88's user avatar
  • 873
77 votes
17 answers
25k views

Is there a word for "air can pass through it"?

If light can pass through an object, or if you can see through it, it is transparent. Is there a similar word for "air can pass through", or you can breathe through an object? This adjective would be ...
IQAndreas'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
  • 1,405
72 votes
3 answers
79k views

Retriable or retryable?

As in "it is possible to try it again". "Tryable" seems to be the one mostly used online, if you type it in Google. Onelook Dictionary Search only returns an entry for "tryable" from Wordnik, not from ...
Adam's user avatar
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70 votes
10 answers
123k views

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and ...?

When working in a 2D coordinate system you could say that X is the horizontal axis and Y is the vertical axis. Extending this to 3D, is there a similar word for the Z axis? (I'm aware of Width, ...
George Duckett's user avatar
70 votes
9 answers
32k views

Why is the word "Holy" used before swear words?

People usually use the word "Holy" before "Shit", "Crap" or any other bad words to express their feelings, like surprise, anger, etc. Is there any reason why the word "Holy" is used with these bad ...
AeJey's user avatar
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68 votes
16 answers
34k views

What is worse than "mediocre"?

What is worse than mediocre? Is it bad, or is there a level between mediocre and being pure bad? Is mediocre slightly better than bad, and bad better than pathetic? I want to use this in my prose ...
ring bearer's user avatar
67 votes
15 answers
102k views

When to use "nude" and when "naked"

The question is quite clear. Is there any difference (semantically or connotationally, if that's a word) between nude and naked? Nude seems more formal to me, but I'm not quite sure. Interesting: ...
Bram Vanroy's user avatar
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65 votes
10 answers
9k views

What's the difference between the adjectives "strategic" and "tactical"?

I recently read this sentence: It was a strategic move rather than a tactical one. I have trouble interpreting it. Can someone help?
harithski's user avatar
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64 votes
21 answers
25k views

What is the word for always YES (100%) or always NO (0%), never in-between

For example: 1) In statistics, this attribute will always either be 0% or 100%, never in-between. 2) The boundary is either safe or destroyed, because there is never a state where it is only '...
simon's user avatar
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62 votes
3 answers
71k views

What is the difference between "proven" and "proved"?

"Proven" and "proved" both seem to mean the same thing. Are there any differences in meaning or usage between them?
vonjd's user avatar
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61 votes
10 answers
20k views

Which is more wet: ‘moist’ or ‘damp’?

Which contains more liquid, something that is moist or something that is damp? Context of question: This question was asked to a young friend of mine in her high school freshman English class. It was ...
LWhitson2's user avatar
  • 736
60 votes
3 answers
24k views

What does "non-normative" mean in this context?

From the ECMAScript language specification ECMA-262 page 1 Section 4 This section contains a non-normative overview of the ECMAScript language The text goes on to say ECMAScript is an object-...
P.Brian.Mackey's user avatar
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
56 votes
3 answers
7k views

What is the etymology of “yellow”, and why is it so different in other European languages?

It seems like most of our names for colors come from our German roots (blue/blau, green/grün, red/rot, etc.). But yellow is gelb in German, amarillo in Spanish, jaune in French, and giallo in Italian. ...
Sebastian Good's user avatar
56 votes
5 answers
41k views

Weekly, Daily, Hourly --- Minutely...?

What is the correct word for "happening every minute"? How do you pronounce it?
Kerry Jones's user avatar
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
  • 1,427
54 votes
5 answers
19k views

Why can we say 'an American' but not 'a British'?

I am confused with the use of an indefinite article in front of British or Chinese. To my understanding, we can place an indefinite article in front of any “countable noun”. So, we can say a cup and ...
Feng Rong's user avatar
  • 557
52 votes
10 answers
28k views

Grammatically correct sentence where "you're" and "your" can be interchanged? [closed]

Most grammar checkers are capable of detecting the the misuse of "your" and "you're"; providing the necessary correction. I'm curious though, is there any sentence that can be constructed where ...
Trevor Hickey's user avatar
52 votes
7 answers
95k views

How long can you say "the late so and so"?

When you refer to the deceased, you say "the late so and so." How long can you say that? Is JFK referred to as the late John F. Kennedy? How about Abraham Lincoln?
Fujibei's user avatar
  • 2,365
51 votes
7 answers
9k views

Mimsy were the Borogoves - why is "mimsy" an adjective?

I'm reading Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass" and I've found a famous poem Jabberwocky: Twas bryllyg, and the slythy toves Did gyre and gymble in the wabe: All mimsy were the ...
Amir's user avatar
  • 687
51 votes
6 answers
75k views

What is the difference between "illicit" and "illegal"?

What is the difference between "illicit" and "illegal"? Are they just synonymous? Used in different contexts?
719016's user avatar
  • 4,439
51 votes
9 answers
21k views

Should the word Boolean be capitalized?

I keep second guessing myself on this one. On one hand it seems like it should because the word Boolean is derived from the name of George Boole, the inventor of Boolean logic. However, the term as ...
JohnFx's user avatar
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50 votes
5 answers
6k views

Alternative to "manned" when referring to an extraterrestrial spacecraft?

In this question about manned spaceships versus drones, a user (perhaps jokingly) pointed out that "manned" wouldn't technically be correct when talking about an extraterrestrial spacecraft: By ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
  • 3,295
49 votes
13 answers
19k views

What is the most common English term for a person who attempts a coup d'état?

In Latin America, we have the Portuguese/Spanish word golpista (from the word golpe = coup d'état). In the British media, I've read coup monger and also putschist (from German word putsch = coup d'...
Guilherme Serafina's user avatar
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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46 votes
8 answers
12k views

Oil is slippery; rubber is _____?

What's the best word (or words) to describe rubber's 'gripping' property that is the opposite of oil's slipperiness? It's not 'rough', since rubber grips without necessarily being rough.
EmmaV's user avatar
  • 951
45 votes
6 answers
150k views

"Electronic" vs. "electric"

Most people would refer to computers as being electronic, whereas a flashlight would be described as electric. I know the general difference (electronic devices use transistors?), but what is it ...
houbysoft's user avatar
  • 1,261
45 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why is quixotic not Quixotic (a proper adjective)?

Adjectives derived from proper nouns are known as proper adjectives, and are capitalized: A piece of writing could be Shakespearean, not shakespearean. A person may be Canadian, not canadian. Even ...
Jesse Williams's user avatar
44 votes
5 answers
3k views

My shoes can't think; how can they be sensible?

Recently as some of us were getting ready to take a walk through the snow, somebody said to me "you're wearing sensible shoes". Now my shoes haven't developed cognitive abilities so far as I know (...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
43 votes
11 answers
16k views

Is there word like "excruciating" but relating to pleasure rather than pain?

I was hoping for some help on this one. I'm looking for a word that carries all the connotations of "excruciating" (intense, prolonged, unbearable, torturous, etc) but relating to pleasure rather than ...
Vocoder's user avatar
  • 1,164
43 votes
6 answers
6k views

Does "300-odd pages" mean "about 300 pages" or "somewhat more than 300 pages"?

I've always understood the adjective -odd used in combination to mean about, as in "She read 300-odd pages and then stopped." After reading a comment by Edwin Ashworth in another question (&...
DjinTonic's user avatar
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43 votes
8 answers
188k views

What's the difference between "big" and "large"?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
Valentina's user avatar
  • 1,071
43 votes
0 answers
443k views

List of expertise levels from beginner to expert [closed]

I would like to create a list of terms, from beginner to expert, using as many terms as possible which represent different levels of expertise. I have constructed by myself: Newbie Novice Rookie ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 539
42 votes
19 answers
17k views

Does a word meaning "Created Recklessly for Temporary Use" exist?

Imagine you are surviving in the wilderness traveling in a wandering manner. You've found this landscape that is wonderfully abundant in food and basking in a very favorable climate. Therefore, you ...
Jeremiah Knefel's user avatar
42 votes
8 answers
12k views

'Earth-based' adjective counterpart to 'Lunar' or 'Solar'

We have adjectives relating to various celestial bodies: 'Solar', 'Lunar', 'Martian', 'Venusian' etc. What would be the counterpart to Earth? 'Earthian' sounds very awkward to me... is it valid? For ...
SF.'s user avatar
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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
41 votes
18 answers
20k views

What do you call a person who keeps talking about art; studies art, criticizes art, and thinks he'd be amazing with it. But he doesn't practice it

I've come across this word before. It's not "hypocrite". But the definition of the word was very specific. Basically it's an adjective, it's something you call a person who's really into art; like for ...
Carl's user avatar
  • 475
40 votes
7 answers
190k views

Opened vs open?

Is there are rule when to use opened vs open? I always get confused even though I've been speaking English as the dominant language for more than half my life. E.g. Is the door open(ed)? ...
amphibient's user avatar
  • 2,890
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
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
  • 21.9k
39 votes
10 answers
210k views

"The point is moot"

I was recently called out for using the phrase "the point is moot" incorrectly. My intent was to indicate that I felt that the point wasn't really worth debating or discussing. I was then shown that ...
Goyuix's user avatar
  • 926
37 votes
14 answers
18k views

What do you call a road that goes up and down? [closed]

How does one describe a road that goes upwards and downwards, as in the image below? I'm not quite sure what word to use, although I am sure that there is one. Is it a zig-zag road? By the way, the ...
user avatar
36 votes
7 answers
33k views

Underwater equivalent of "aerodynamic"?

I was reading this book that features a description of a shark: It had fins at its sides, a triangular fin that rose from its back, a raked, aerodynamic tail, and eyes that were small, black, and ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
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