Post-positive adjectives or postnominal adjectives are mainly placed immediately after the noun. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.
What Are Postpositive Adjectives?
Postpositive Adjectives: Types
We have different kinds of postpositive adjectives:
Postpositive Attributive Adjectives
Attributive adjectives can be both prepositive and postpositive. Here are the cases where attributive adjectives appear postpositively:
Adjectives must appear postpositively in English when they describe indefinite pronouns and the pronoun 'those.'
We need someone
I saw something
- In archaic and poetic contexts
I watched the demons
She had eyes, such beautiful eyes,
- In phrases borrowed from Latin or Roman languages
Translation: sea closed, sea free
- In certain fixed grammatical constructions such as:
(a) + noun + this/that/so + adjective
I need a box
- a case
happyto see me
- when we want to use 'enough' with adjectives, they appear postpositively
One of the criminals
the best choice
the only option
the best way
the tobacco companies
Some adjectives whether used postpositively or prepositively may have different meanings. Consider the following examples:
We need to bring the people
When used postpositively, 'responsible' has a negative connotation, it means 'at fault' or 'guilty'. But, in the first sentences, 'responsible' has a positive connotation. It means 'dedicated' or 'reliable.'
- the devil
incarnate, God Almighty
general, governor general, postmaster general, surgeon general
- In some of the titles of books, movies, etc. we can use postpositive adjectives
- Bad Moon
- The Matrix
Nouns can take other modifiers besides attributive adjectives. For example, relative clauses come after the nouns they modify.
This is my father
Expletive clauses are a type of noun clause that is placed into a sentence to fulfill the basic meaning of the sentence.
They can act as a noun or adjectives in a sentence. When they act as adjectives, they appear postpositively:
They need me to make a decision
Participle clauses begin with a present participle, past participle, and perfect participle. When they act as adjectives in a sentence, they must appear after the noun they modify.
Look at that three old men
present participle clause as an adjective
I was left with my heart
past participle clause as an adjective
perfect participle clause as an adjective
Postpositive Adjectives: Plural Form
When we want to plurize postpositive adjectives or modifiers, we must add the suffix '-s' or '-es' after the noun, not after the entire phrase. Consider the examples:
- surgeon general → surgeon
sgeneral (Not 'surgeon general s')
- battle royal → battle
sroyal (Not 'battle royal s')
- mother-to-be → mother
s-to-be (Not 'mother-to-be s')