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Encyclopedia > Adjective
Examples
  • That's a big building.
  • I met a very old man.
  • He was feeling tired.
  • The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  • Most monkeys are arboreal creatures that inhabit tropical or subtropical areas.

In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjective's subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. Collectively, adjectives form one of the traditional eight parts of speech, though linguists today distinguish adjectives from words such as determiners that used to be considered adjectives but that are now recognized to be different. For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... In grammar, a modifier (aka qualifier) is a word or sentence element that limits or qualifies another word, a phrase, or a clause. ... In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ... In grammar, a part of speech or word class is defined as the role that a word (or sometimes a phrase) plays in a sentence. ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... Determiners are words which quantify or identify nouns. ...


Not all languages have adjectives, but most, including English, do. (English adjectives include big, old, and tired, among many others.) Those that don't typically use words of another part of speech, often verbs, to serve the same semantic function; for example, such a language might have a verb that means "to be big", and would use a construction analogous to "big-being house" to express what English expresses as "big house". Even in languages that do have adjectives, one language's adjective might not be another's; for example, where English has "to be hungry" (hungry being an adjective), French has "avoir faim" (literally "to have hunger"), and where Hebrew has the adjective "זקוק" (zaqūq, roughly "in need of"), English uses the verb "to need". The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...


In most languages with adjectives, they form an open class of words; that is, it is relatively common for new adjectives to be formed via such processes as derivation. In linguistics, an open class (or open word class) is a word class that accepts the addition of new items, through such processes as compounding, derivation, coining, borrowing, etc. ... In linguistics, derivation is the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes, for example, by adding a derivational affix. ...

Contents

Adjectives and adverbs

Many languages, including English, distinguish between adjectives, which modify nouns and pronouns, and adverbs, which modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Not all languages have exactly this distinction, however, and in many languages (including English) there are words that can function as both. For example, English fast is an adjective in "a fast car" (where it modifies the noun car), but an adverb in "he drove fast" (where it modifies the verb drove). “Adverbs” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ...


Determiners

Main article: Determiner (class)

Linguists today distinguish determiners from adjectives, considering them to be two separate parts of speech (or lexical categories), but traditionally, determiners were considered to be adjectives in some of their uses. (In English dictionaries, which typically still do not treat determiners as their own part of speech, determiners are often recognizable by being listed both as adjectives and as pronouns.) Determiners are words that express the reference of a noun in the context, generally indicating definiteness (as in a vs. the), quantity (as in one vs. some vs. many), or another such property. For the function in NP structure, see Determiner (function). ... In grammatical theory, definiteness is a feature of noun phrases, distinguishing between entities which are specific and identifiable in a given context (definite noun phrases) and entities which are not (indefinite noun phrases). ... Quantity is a kind of property which exists as magnitude or multitude. ...



Attributive, predicative, absolute, and substantive adjectives

A given occurrence of an adjective can generally be classified into one of four kinds of uses:

  • Attributive adjectives are part of the noun phrase headed by the noun they modify; for example, happy is an attributive adjective in "happy kids". In some languages, attributive adjectives precede their nouns; in others, they follow their nouns; and in yet others, it depends on the adjective, or on the exact relationship of the adjective to the noun. In English, attributive adjectives usually precede their nouns in simple phrases, but often follow their nouns when the adjective is modified or qualified by a phrase acting as an adverb. For example: "I saw three happy kids", and "I saw three kids happy enough to jump up and down with glee".
  • Predicative adjectives are linked via a copula or other linking mechanism to the noun or pronoun they modify; for example, happy is a predicate adjective in "they are happy" and in "that made me happy".
  • Absolute adjectives do not belong to a larger construction (aside from a larger adjective phrase), and typically modify either the subject of a sentence or whatever noun or pronoun they are closest to; for example, happy is an absolute adjective in "The boy, happy with his lollipop, did not look where he was going."
  • Substantive adjectives act almost as nouns. One way this can happen is if a noun is elided and an attributive adjective is left behind; for example, happy is a substantive adjective, short for "happy one" or "happy book", in "I read two books to them; he preferred the sad book, but she preferred the happy." Another way this can happen is in phrases like "Out with the old, in with the new", where "the old" means "that which is old" or "all that is old", and similarly with "the new". In such cases, the adjective functions either as a mass noun (as in the preceding example) or as a plural count noun, as in "The meek shall inherit the Earth", where "the meek" means "those who are meek" or "all who are meek".

Look up noun phrase in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Copula (disambiguation). ... According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ... In music, see elision (music). ... It has been suggested that Count noun be merged into this article or section. ... A count noun is a noun which is itself counted, or the units which are used to count it. ...

Adjective phrases

Main article: Adjective phrase

An adjective acts as the head of an adjective phrase (or adjectival phrase). In the simplest case, an adjective phrase consists solely of the adjective; more complex adjective phrases may contain one or more adverbs modifying the adjective ("very strong"), or one or more complements ("worth several dollars", "full of toys", "eager to please). In English, attributive adjective phrases that include complements typically follow their subjects ("an evildoer devoid of redeeming qualities"). An adjective phrase tells which one, what kind of, or how many - about the noun or pronoun it modifies. ... “Adverbs” redirects here. ... A complement is a phrase that fits a particular slot in the syntax requirements of a parent phrase. ...


Other noun modifiers

In many languages, including English, it is possible for nouns to modify other nouns. Unlike adjectives, nouns acting as modifiers (called attributive nouns or noun adjuncts) are not predicative; a red car is red, but a car park is not "car". In English, the modifier often indicates origin ("Virginia reel"), purpose ("work clothes"), or semantic patient ("man eater"). However, it can generally indicate almost any semantic relationship. It is also common for adjectives to be derived from nouns, as in English boyish, birdlike, behavioral, famous, manly, angelic, and so on. In grammar, a noun adjunct is a noun that modifies another noun and that is optional; that is, it can be removed without affecting the grammar of the sentence. ... In linguistics, a grammatical patient is an entity upon whom an action is carried out. ... In linguistics, derivation is the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes, for example, by adding a derivational affix. ...


Many languages have special verbal forms called participles that can act as noun modifiers. In some languages, including English, there is a strong tendency for participles to evolve into adjectives. English examples of this include relieved (the past participle of the verb relieve, used as an adjective in sentences such as "I am so relieved to see you") and going (the present participle of the verb go, used as an adjective in sentences such as "Ten dollars per hour is the going rate"). In linguistics, a participle is a non-finite verb form that can be used in compound tenses or voices, or it can be used as a modifier. ...


Other constructs that often modify nouns include prepositional phrases (as in English "a rebel without a cause"), relative clauses (as in English "the man who wasn't there"), other adjective clauses (as in English "the bookstore where he worked"), and infinitive phrases (as in English "pizza to die for"). It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with adposition. ... A relative clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun. ... In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate, although in some languages and some types of clauses, the subject may not appear explicitly. ... In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. ...


Relatedly, many nouns take complements such as content clauses (as in English "the idea that I would do that"); these are not commonly considered modifiers, however. In grammar, a content clause is a subordinate clause that provides content implied by, or commented upon by, its main clause. ...


Adjective order

In many languages, attributive adjectives usually occur in a specific order; for example, in English, adjectives pertaining to size generally precede adjectives pertaining to age ("little old", not "old little"), which in turn generally precede adjectives pertaining to color ("old green", not "green old"). This order may be more rigid in some languages than others; in some it may only be a default (unmarked) word order, with other orders being permissible so as to shift the emphasis. Markedness is a linguistics concept that developed out of the Prague School (also known as the Prague linguistic circle). ...


Comparison of adjectives

Main articles: Comparison (grammar) and Comparative

In many languages, adjectives can be compared. In English, for example, we can say that a car is big, that it is bigger than another, or that it is the biggest car of all. Not all adjectives lend themselves to comparison, however; for example, the English adjective even, in the sense of "being a multiple of two", is not considered comparable, in that it does not make sense to describe one integer as "more even" than another. Comparison, in grammar, is a property of adjectives and adverbs in most languages; it describes systems that distinguish the degree to which the modifier modifies its complement. ... In grammar the comparative is the form of an adjective or adverb which denotes the degree or grade by which a person, thing, or other entity has a property or quality greater or less in extent than that of another. ...


Among languages that allow adjectives to be compared in this way, different approaches are used. Indeed, even within English, two different approaches are used: the suffixes -er and -est, and the words more and most. (In English, the general tendency is for shorter adjectives and adjectives from Anglo-Saxon to use -er and -est, and for longer adjectives and adjectives from French, Latin, Greek, and other languages to use more and most.) By either approach, English adjectives therefore have positive forms (big), comparative forms (bigger), and superlative forms (biggest); many languages do not distinguish comparative from superlative forms, however. Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ...


Restrictiveness

Main article: Restrictiveness

Attributive adjectives, and other noun modifiers, may be used either restrictively (helping to identify the noun's referent, hence "restricting" its reference), or non-restrictively (helping to describe an already-identified noun). In some languages, such as Spanish, restrictiveness is consistently marked; for example, Spanish la tarea difícil means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task that is difficult" (restrictive), while la difícil tarea means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task, which is difficult" (non-restrictive). In English, restrictiveness is not marked on adjectives, but is marked on relative clauses (the difference between "the man who recognized me was there" and "the man, who recognized me, was there" being one of restrictiveness). In semantics, a modifier is said to be restrictive if it restricts the reference of its head. ...


See also

Look up predicative adjective in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... In English usage, a proper adjective is an adjective that takes an initial capital letter. ... For the purposes of this article, a non-standard adjective is an adjective of relation that is not derived from the same root as the corresponding noun, or is based on the same root, but in a way that is non-intuitive even to a native English speaker. ... An eponymous adjective is an adjective which has been derived from the name of a person, real or fictional. ... A post-positive adjective is an adjective that appears after the noun that it modifies. ...

Bibliography

  • Dixon, R. M. W. (1977). Where have all the adjectives gone? Studies in Language, 1, 19-80.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (1994). Adjectives. In R. E. Asher (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (pp. 29-35). Oxford: Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-035943-4. (Republished as Dixon 1999).
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (1999). Adjectives. In K. Brown & T. Miller (Eds.), Concise encyclopedia of grammatical categories (pp. 1-8). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-043164-X.
  • Warren, Beatrice. (1984). Classifying adjectives. Gothenburg studies in English (No. 56). Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. ISBN 91-7346-133-4.
  • Wierzbicka, Anna. (1986). What's in a noun? (or: How do nouns differ in meaning from adjectives?). Studies in Language, 10, 353-389.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Adjective - LoveToKnow 1911 (97 words)
Formerly grammarians used not to separate a noun from its adjective, or attribute, but spoke of them together as a noun-adjective.
In the art of dyeing, certain colours are known as adjective colours, as they require mixing with some basis to render them permanent.
"Adjective law" is that which relates to the forms of procedure, as opposed to "substantive law," the rules of right administered by a court.
Adjective - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1738 words)
Similarly, possessive adjectives, such as his or her, are sometimes called determinative possessive pronouns, and demonstrative adjectives, such as this or that, determinative demonstratives.
In English, an adjectival phrase may occur as a postmodifier to a noun (a bin full of toys), or as a predicate to a verb (the bin is full of toys).
Adjectives are sometimes used in place of nouns, as in many of the Beatitudes (e.g.
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