Hints on Adjectives
دروس عن الصفة و ترتيبها ضمن العبارات لطلاب الأدب الإنجليزي
Adjectives tell you more about nouns. In English, adjectives don't change, they are always singular (even if the noun is plural). You can use several adjectives before a noun, or you can use the adjective on its own in a phrase. There are different kinds of adjectives, and they come in a certain order.
Here we are going to look at:
· Kinds of adjective.
· The Grammar of adjectives.
· Other things that describe nouns Kinds of adjective.
It is important to know what kinds of adjectives there are. When we do the grammar of adjectives, you will see that some sorts of adjectives are written in front of other ones.
These are the most common kinds of adjectives. They tell you most of the information you would like to know about a noun. They describe things like shape, size, color and age.
Imagine you want to buy some apples. There are some things you would like to know about the apples.
Color - are they red or green?
Size - are they big or small?
Taste - are they sweet or bitter?
Cost - are they cheap or expensive?
Age - are the apples fresh or old?
The answers to these questions are given by adjectives of type - they are tasty, big, green, expensive fresh apples.
The general sequence is: opinion, fact. So we say 'a nice French car' and we do not say 'a French nice car'. Secondly, the 'normal' sequence for the 'fact' adjectives is: size, age, shape, color, material, origin. For example: 'a big, old, square, black, wooden Chinese table'. So an example with 'opinion' and all 'fact' adjectives would be:
However, note that rules are not always rigid. Sometimes you have to use common sense. In the last example we have just broken the rule because the word 'two' is a number and numbers are adjectives and very definitely 'fact'. Also, consider the following conversations:
A: 'I want to buy a round table.'
B :'Do you want a new round table or an old round table?'
A :'I want to buy an old table'.
B :'Do you want a round old table or a square old table?'
Sometimes adjectives are made from nouns:
friendly from friend / smelly from smell
Or from verbs:
Sticky from to stick / Shiny from to shine.
(You can see that these adjectives are often made by putting -y and -ly at the end.)
But nouns can also be made into adjectives without any change:
Cat food / Air travel / football boots.Compound Adjectives
Some adjectives are small sentences by themselves. These "compound adjectives" are often joined by hyphens ( - ). They are groups of words that are not all adjectives, but they make a meaning that is just one adjective.
an upside-down car. / a potato-and-onion soup
These "compound adjectives" do not always have hyphens :
A New Year's Day party.
Numbers are usually adjectives, because the information they give is how many of the noun. They can be cardinal (like one, two, three), or ordinal (like first, second, third).
A thousand pounds.
The second example. Sometimes numbers can look like nouns because of ellipsis (ellipsis is when you do not say all of the words in a sentence because the other person knows what the words will be).
Jane has one boyfriend, but Mary has two (boyfriends)
one and two are both adjectives.
Sometimes adjectives of number are not precise.
A few days. Many kinds of adjective.
In grammar, adjectives of number come before most other kinds of adjective.Demonstrative Adjectives
These are called demonstrative because they show something. The demonstrative adjectives are: this and that (singular), and these and those (plural). This and these mean "the one(s) here"; and that and those mean "the one(s) over there".
This apple here is green, that apple there is red.
These examples are useful, and those given above are useful too.
Demonstrative adjectives come even before adjectives of number.
Other kinds of adjectives
Good is gradable: there are degrees of goodness. (very good) ,(too good), (not good enough).
non gradable adjectives
For example :
complete and unique are not gradable ; they are not normally compared, nor modified by very, too or enough.
The six o'clock train. A September morning./He is a frequent visitor. /An early start / A winter day.
Adjectives of feeling. Sometimes you find these where you might expect an adverb
You sound happy. / I feel bad. / He seems angry.The Grammar of Adjectives
Adjectives in English are not inflected (the endings do not change). In fact, English adjectives do not change at all, whether they are describing one or many of a noun, or whether they are describing females, males or things.
A tall man. / A tall woman. / A tall
Tall trees. / Tall boys. / Tall girls.
Notice that the adjective - here I am using the adjective tall - does not change in any of the examples.The order of adjectives
Adjectives are used in a certain order. Watch how you can build up this adjective set.
Old football boots.
Three old football boots.
Three old black Spanish football boots
Three small old black Spanish football boots
These three small old black Spanish football boots
So the order is demonstrative, number, size, age, color, nationality and noun adjective..
We have not done participles. when we do these you will see that a participle can be used where the noun adjective is. When we use more than one adjective of a kind, we use commas to separate them.
A cold, windy autumn day.
Here, there are two adjectives of the same kind (cold and windy) and one of a different kind (autumn), because autumn is about time, not weather, so we do not use a comma between windy and autumn.
You can put many adjectives before a noun, but English speakers do not usually use more than two or three, especially if they are adjectives of the same kind.. Instead we put an extra part (usually a relative clause) afterward.
The big, scary house was dark and empty. / She had two black dogs which were noisy, messy and friendly.
The verb "to be"
Adjectives are often used with the verb "to be".
The apples are green
If we are using adjectives without "to be", the adjectives usually come before the noun. If we use "to be" then the adjectives come after the verb "to be".
The big house is empty.
If we use more than one adjective after a noun, we can put and between the adjectives:
The house was old and dark and empty. ( in speech)
If you put lots of adjectives, you must put and before the last one.
The house was old, dark and empty. ( in writing)Other ways to describe nouns ...
The past participle and the present participle are very like adjectives in their syntactic nature, but participles are such a big subject that they need two or three lectures on them later. They assume the function of post-modification or pre-modification in NPs.
Coordinate & Cumulative Adjectives
Coordinate: Adjectives are coordinate when two or more of them each modify a noun separately. The adjectives are coordinate if they could be joined with the word and. Coordinate adjectives can also be scrambled. Use a comma to separate the adjectives.
Mother has become a strong, confident, independent woman.
Cumulative: Cumulative adjectives do not modify the noun separately. These adjectives build upon the previous one. Cumulative adjectives cannot be joined by the word and, nor can they be scrambled. Do not use a comma between the adjectives.
Three large grey shapes moved towards us.
Six bright red apples were on the pantry shelf.
If two adjectives modify a noun in the same way, place a comma between the two adjectives. These are called coordinate adjectives.
There is a two-part test for coordinate adjectives:
(1) Can you replace the comma with the word and?
(2) Can you reverse the order of the adjectives and keep the same meaning?
If you can do both, then you have coordinate adjectives.
Correct: Did you read about Marlow’s short, happy life?
Test for Correctness: Did you read about Marlow’s short and happy life?
Did you read about Marlow’s happy, short life?
All three sentences say the same thing, so the adjectives are coordinate adjectives and separated by commas in the original.
If the paired adjectives fail the two-part test, then no comma is used. This shows that they must remain in a certain order to make sense. These are called cumulative adjectives.
Incorrect: The former, overweight woman told us how she lost fifty-five pounds.
Test for Correctness:
The former and overweight woman... (Makes no sense)
The overweight, former woman... (A former woman? At best the meaning is changed.)
Clearly, no comma is needed for these cumulative adjectives.
Correct: The former overweight woman told us how she lost fifty-five pounds.
A device to help remember this punctuation rule is to keep in mind a common expression like Christmas tree or fire truck. We say, "green Christmas tree," but not "Christmas green tree." We say, "red fire truck," but not "fire red truck." Such cumulative expressions take no commas.
Which sentences use commas appropriately between adjectives?
We were prepared for a long, tedious, planning session.
Allen owns several blue, wool sweaters
In order to get home, we must travel over several narrow, winding, treacherous roads.
Only the last sentence is punctuated correctly.
The rulebooks tell us to put commas between coordinate adjectives, but because it is not always easy to tell when adjectives are coordinate, we apply two simple tests to be sure: first, we try placing the word and between the two adjectives. Second, we reverse them. If, in both instances, the resulting phrase still sounds appropriate, we are most likely dealing with coordinate adjectives and should use a comma between them.
Let's try those two tests on sentence 1: We could say "a long and tedious planning session" or "a tedious, long planning session." Thus, we need the comma between the words long and tedious. However, we could not say "a tedious and planning session," nor could we say "a planning, tedious session." Thus, we should not use a comma between the words tedious and planning.
In sentence 2, we do not need a comma between the words blue and wool because the two adjectives are not coordinate. It would sound illogical to say "blue and wool sweaters" or "wool blue sweaters."
The adjectives in sentence three--narrow, winding, and treacherous--are coordinate with one another, so the commas are appropriate. The word and would sound fine between those words ("the narrow and winding roads" or "the winding and treacherous roads"), and I could easily rearrange the three modifiers in any order.
Remember, of course, that we never use a comma in front of the noun or pronoun being modified or between adverbs and the adjectives they modify.
Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives. You could think of this as "That tall, distinguished, good looking fellow" rule (as opposed to "the little old lady"). If you can put an and between the adjectives, a comma will probably belong there. For instance, you could say, "He is a tall and distinguished fellow" or "I live in a very old and run-down house." So you would write, "He is a tall, distinguished man" and "I live in a very old, run-down house." But you would probably not say, "She is a little and old lady," or "I live in a little and purple house," so commas would not appear between little and old or between little and purple. To sum up, use commas to separate two or more coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun.
Can the adjectives be written in reverse order? If your answer is yes, add a comma.
Can you add AND between the adjectives? If your answer is yes, add a comma.
a greedy, stubborn child ( comma is accepted)
a white frame house ( no comma)
a purple wool shawl ( no comma)
an easy, happy smile ( comma is accepted)
Apply what I have just said to our sentence:
1-” tasty, big, green expensive fresh apples.”
2-delicious , hot Chinese tea
3- a new Cambridge college
4- a thin , white hand
I am going to comment on NP3 and NP4. Can you say “ a new and Cambridge College? The answer is definitely “no”. Can you reverse the adjectives? Can you say “a Cambridge new college”? The answer is, of course “no”. But you can say “her hand is thin and white”. Or “her hand is white and thin”. The two adjectives are reversible and the word and can be inserted between the two adjectives. Hence, NP4 are coordinate adjectives, whereas new and Cambridge re cumulative ones. Consequently, no commas can be used.