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Forum » Test category » English language forum » English Grammar in English by John Dow (English Grammar Book)
English Grammar in English by John Dow
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:30 PM | Message # 31
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5.3 Inherent and Non-inherent Adjectives
Most attributive adjectives denote some attribute of the noun which they modify. For instance, the phrase a red car may be said to denote a car which is red. In fact most adjective-noun sequences such as this can be loosely reformulated in a similar way:

an old man ~a man who is old
difficult questions ~questions which are difficult
round glasses ~glasses which are round

This applies equally to postpositive adjectives:
something understood ~something which is understood
the people responsible ~the people who are responsible
In each case the adjective denotes an attribute or quality of the noun, as the reformulations show. Adjectives of this type are known as INHERENT adjectives. The attribute they denote is, as it were, inherent in the noun which they modify.
However, not all adjectives are related to the noun in the same way. For example, the adjective small in a small businessman does not describe an attribute of the businessman. It cannot be reformulated as a businessman who is small. Instead, it refers to a businessman whose business is small. We refer to adjectives of this type as NON-INHERENT adjectives. They refer less directly to an attribute of the noun than inherent adjectives do. Here are some more examples, showing the contrast betwen inherent and non-inherent:

Inherent Non-inherent
distant hills distant relatives
a complete chapter a complete idiot
a heavy burden a heavy smoker
a social survey a social animal
an old man an old friend
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:31 PM | Message # 32
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5.4 Stative and Dynamic Adjectives
As their name suggests, STATIVE adjectives denote a state or condition, which may generally be considered permanent, such as big, red, small. Stative adjectives cannot normally be used in imperative constructions:

*Be big/red/small
Further, they cannot normally be used in progressive constructions:

*He is being big/red/small
In contrast, DYNAMIC adjectives denote attributes which are, to some extent at least, under the control of the one who possesses them. For instance, brave denotes an attribute which may not always be in evidence (unlike red, for example), but which may be called upon as it is required. For this reason, it is appropriate to use it in an imperative:

Be brave!
Dynamic adjectives include:

impatient mannerly

All dynamic adjectives can be used in imperatives (Be careful!, Don't be cruel!), and they can also be used predicatively in progressive constructions:

Your son is being disruptive in class
My parents are being foolish again
We're being very patient with you
The majority of adjectives are stative. The stative/dynamic contrast, as it relates to adjectives, is largely a semantic one, though as we have seen it also has syntactic implications.
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:31 PM | Message # 33
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5.5 Nominal Adjectives
Certain adjectives are used to denote a class by describing one of the attributes of the class. For example, the poor denotes a class of people who share a similar financial status. Other nominal adjectives are:
the old
the sick
the wealthy
the blind
the innocent
A major subclass of nominal adjectives refers to nationalities:

the French
the British
the Japanese
However, not all nationalities have corresponding nominal adjectives. Many of them are denoted by plural, proper nouns:

the Germans
the Russians
the Americans
the Poles

Nominal adjectives do not refer exclusively to classes of people. Indeed some of them do not denote classes at all:

the opposite
the contrary
the good
Comparative and superlative forms can also be nominal adjectives:

the best is yet to come
the elder of the two
the greatest of these
the most important among them
We refer to all of these types as nominal adjectives because they share some of the characteristics of nouns (hence `nominal') and some of the characteristics of adjectives. They have the following nominal characteristics:
• they are preceded by a determiner (usually the definite article the)
• they can be modified by adjectives (the gallant French, the unfortunate poor)
They have the following adjectival features:

• they are gradable (the very old, the extremely wealthy)
• many can take comparative and superlative forms (the poorer, the poorest)
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:32 PM | Message # 34
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5.6 Adjectives and Nouns
We have seen that attributive adjectives occur before a noun which they modify, for example, red in red car. We need to distinguish these clearly from nouns which occur in the same position, and fulfil the same syntactic function. Consider the following:

rally car
saloon car
family car
Here, the first word modifies the second, that is, it tells us something further about the car. For example, a rally car is a car which is driven in rallies. These modifiers occur in the same position as red in the example above, but they are not adjectives. We can show this by applying our criteria for the adjective class.
Firstly, they do not take very:

*a very rally car
*a very saloon car
*a very family car
Secondly, they do not have comparative or superlative forms:

*rallier *ralliest / *more rally / *most rally
*salooner *saloonest / *more saloon / *most saloon
*familier *familiest / *more family / *most family

And finally, they cannot occur in predicative position:

*the car is rally
*the car is saloon
*the car is family
So although these words occupy the typical adjective position, they are not adjectives. They are nouns.
However, certain adjectives are derived from nouns, and are known as DENOMINAL adjectives. Examples include:

a mathematical puzzle [`a puzzle based on mathematics']
a biological experiment [`an experiment in biology']
a wooden boat [`a boat made of wood']

Denominals include adjectives which refer to nationality:

a Russian lady [`a lady who comes from Russia']
German goods [`goods produced in Germany']

Denominal adjectives of this type should be carefully distinguished from nominal adjectives denoting nationalities. Compare:

Nominal Adjective: The French are noted for their wines
Denominal Adjective: The French people are noted for their wines
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:32 PM | Message # 35
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5.7 Participial Adjectives
We saw in an earlier section that many adjectives can be identified by their endings. Another major subclass of adjectives can also be formally distinguished by endings, this time by -ed or -ing endings:

-ed form computerized, determined, excited, misunderstood, renowned, self-centred, talented, unknown
-ing form annoying, exasperating, frightening, gratifying, misleading, thrilling, time-consuming, worrying

Remember that some -ed forms, such as misunderstood and unknown, do not end in -ed at all. This is simply a cover term for this form. Adjectives with -ed or -ing endings are known as PARTICIPIAL ADJECTIVES, because they have the same endings as verb participles (he was training for the Olympics, he had trained for the Olympics). In some cases there is a verb which corresponds to these adjectives (to annoy, to computerize, to excite, etc), while in others there is no corresponding verb (*to renown, *to self-centre, *to talent). Like other adjectives, participial adjectives can usually be modified by very, extremely, or less (very determined, extremely self-centred, less frightening, etc). They can also take more and most to form comparatives and superlatives (annoying, more annoying, most annoying). Finally, most participial adjectives can be used both attributively and predicatively:

Attributive Predicative
That's an irritating noise That noise is irritating
This is an exciting film This film is exciting
He's a talented footballer That footballer is talented
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:32 PM | Message # 36
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Many participial adjectives, which have no corresponding verb, are formed by combining a noun with a participle:

alcohol-based chemicals
battle-hardened soldiers
drug-induced coma
energy-saving devices
fact-finding mission
purpose-built accommodation
These, too, can be used predicatively (the chemicals are alcohol-based, the soldiers were battle-hardened, etc).
When participial adjectives are used predicatively, it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish between adjectival and verbal uses:

[1] the workers are striking
In the absence of any further context, the grammatical status of striking is indeterminate here. The following expansions illustrate possible adjectival [1a] and verbal [1b] readings of [1]:

[1a] the workers are very striking in their new uniforms (=`impressive', `conspicuous')
[1b] the workers are striking outside the factory gates (=`on strike')
Consider the following pair:

[2] the noise is annoying
[3] the noise is annoying the neighbours
In [2], we can modify annoying using very:

[2a] the noise is (very) annoying
But we cannot modify it in the same way in [3]:

[3a] *the noise is (very) annoying the neighbours
The acceptability of [2a] indicates that annoying is an adjective in this construction. In [3], the verbal nature of annoying is indicated by the fact that we cannot add very , as in [3a]. It is further indicated by the presence of the neighbours (the direct object) after annoying. Notice also that we can turn [3] into a passive sentence (the neighbours were annoyed by the noise). In this case, annoying is the main verb of the sentence, and it is preceded by the progressive auxiliary verb is. In [2], there is only one verb, the main verb is.
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:33 PM | Message # 37
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We can distinguish between the following pairs using the same criteria:

Adjectival Verbal
This film is terrifying This film is terrifying the children
Your comments are alarming Your comments are alarming the people
The defendant's answers were misleading The defendant's answers were misleading the jury

We can also identify -ing forms as verbal if it is possible to change the -ing form into a non-progressive verb:

Progressive Non-progressive
The children are dancing The children dance
My eyes are stinging My eyes sting
The wood is drying The wood dries

Compare these changes from progressive to non-progressive with the following:

the work is rewarding ~*the work rewards
the job was exacting ~*the job exacted
your paper was interesting ~*your paper interested

In these instances, the inability to produce fully acceptable non-progressive sentences indicates adjectival use.
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:33 PM | Message # 38
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Similar indeterminacy occurs with -ed forms. Again, we can generally use very to determine whether the -ed word is adjectival or verbal:

The bomb was detonated ~*The bomb was very detonated
This document is hand-written ~*This document is very hand-written
My house was built in only twelve weeks ~*My house was very built in only twelve weeks
Ten people were killed ~*Ten people were very killed

The inability to supply very in these cases indicates a verbal rather than an adjectival construction. However, this test is less reliable with -ed forms than it is with -ing forms, since very can sometimes be supplied in both the adjectival and the verbal constructions:

Adjectival Verbal
I was embarrassed
I was very embarrassed I was embarrassed by your behaviour
I was very embarrassed by your behaviour
She was surprised
She was very surprised She was surprised by my reaction
She was very surprised by my reaction

The presence of a by-agent phrase (by your behaviour, by my reaction) indicates that the -ed form is verbal. Conversely, the presence of a complement, such as a that-clause, indicates that it is adjectival. Compare the following two constructions:

Adjectival: The jury was convinced that the defendant was innocent
Verbal: The jury was convinced by the lawyer's argument

Here are some further examples of adjectival constructions (with complements) and verbal constructions (with by-agent phrases):
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:34 PM | Message # 39
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Adjectival Verbal
I was delighted to meet you again I was delighted by his compliments
John is terrified of losing his job John is terrified by his boss
I was frightened that I'd be late I was frightened by your expression
I was disappointed to hear your decision I was disappointed by your decision

If the -ed form is verbal, we can change the passive construction in which it occurs into an active one:

Passive: I was delighted by his compliments
Active: His compliments delighted me

For more on active and passive constructions, see...

As we have seen, discriminating between adjectival and verbal constructions is sometimes facilitated by the presence of additional context, such as by-agent phrases or adjective complements. However, when none of these indicators is present, grammatical indeterminacy remains. Consider the following examples from conversational English:
And you know if you don't know the simple command how to get out of something you're sunk [S1A-005-172]
But that's convenient because it's edged with wood isn't it [S1A-007-97]
With -ed and -ing participial forms, there is no grammatical indeterminacy if there is no corresponding verb. For example, in the job was time-consuming, and the allegations were unfounded, the participial forms are adjectives.
Similarly, the problem does not arise if the main verb is not be. For example, the participial forms in this book seems boring, and he remained offended are all adjectives. Compare the following:
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:35 PM | Message # 40
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John was depressed
John felt depressed
5.8 The Ordering of Adjectives
When two or more adjectives come before a noun, their relative order is fixed to a certain degree. This means, for instance, that while complex mathematical studies is grammatically acceptable, mathematical complex studies is less so. Similarly:

a huge red bomber ~*a red huge bomber
a long narrow road ~*a narrow long road
the lovely little black Japanese box ~*the Japanese black little lovely box

Here we will discuss some of the most common sequences which occur, though these should not be seen as ordering rules. Counter examples can often be found quite easily.
Central adjectives, as we saw earlier, are adjectives which fulfil all the criteria for the adjective class. In this sense, they are more "adjectival" than, say, denominal adjectives, which also have some of the properties of nouns.
This distinction has some significance in the ordering of adjectives. In general, the more adjectival a word is, the farther from the noun it will be. Conversely, the less adjectival it is (the more nominal), the nearer to the noun it will be. The relative order of these adjective types, then, is:
Sequence (1): CENTRAL -- DENOMINAL -- NOUN
This is the ordering found in complex mathematical studies, for instance, and also in the following examples:

expensive Russian dolls
heavy woollen clothes
huge polar bears
Colour adjectives are also central adjectives, but if they co-occur with another central adjective, they come after it:
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:35 PM | Message # 41
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Sequence (2): CENTRAL -- COLOUR -- NOUN

expensive green dolls
heavy black clothes
huge white bears
and before denominal adjectives:
Sequence (3): COLOUR -- DENOMINAL -- NOUN

green Russian dolls
black woollen clothes
white polar bears
Participial adjectives also follow central adjectives:

expensive carved Russian dolls
heavy knitted woollen clothes
huge dancing polar bears
(1) - (4) account for many sequences of up to three adjectives, in which each adjective is a different type. In practice it is rare to find more than three attributive adjectives together, especially if they are all different types. However, such a sequence may occur:

certain expensive green Russian dolls
Here the sequence is:
Non-gradable adjectives, in fact, are always first in an adjective sequence. Here are some more examples:
Sequence (5a): NON-GRADABLE -- CENTRAL -- NOUN

certain difficult problems

sheer unadulterated nonsense

major medical advances
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:35 PM | Message # 42
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So far we have looked at sequences in which each adjective is a different type. However, we very often find adjectives of the same type occurring together:

big old buildings
beautiful little flowers
rich young people
Here all the adjectives are central adjectives, and in sequences like these it is much more difficult to determine the general principles governing their order. Several schemes have been proposed, though none is completely satisfactory or comprehensive.
The ordering of adjectives is influenced to some degree by the presence of premodification. If one or more of the adjectives in a sequence is premodified, say, by very, then it generally comes at the start of the sequence.

The laryngograph provides us with a very accurate non-invasive physical measure of voice [S2A-056-95]
It would be unusual, perhaps, to find very accurate elsewhere in this sequence:

?The laryngograph provides us with a non-invasive very accurate physical measure of voice
?The laryngograph provides us with a non-invasive physical very accurate measure of voice
Conversely, adjective order restricts the degree to which attributive adjectives may be premodified. Consider the following:

a wealthy young businessman
a very wealthy young businessman
We cannot modify young in this example, while keeping wealthy and young in the same relative order:

*a wealthy very young businessman
Nor can we move young to the first position and modify it there, while retaining the same degree of acceptability:

?a very young wealthy businessman
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:35 PM | Message # 43
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6 Adverbs

Adverbs are used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb:
[1] Mary sings beautifully
[2] David is extremely clever
[3] This car goes incredibly fast
In [1], the adverb beautifully tells us how Mary sings. In [2], extremely tells us the degree to which David is clever. Finally, in [3], the adverb incredibly tells us how fast the car goes.
Before discussing the meaning of adverbs, however, we will identify some of their formal characteristics.
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:36 PM | Message # 44
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6.1 Formal Characteristics of Adverbs
From our examples above, you can see that many adverbs end in -ly. More precisely, they are formed by adding -ly to an adjective:

Adjective slow quick soft sudden gradual
Adverb slowly quickly softly suddenly gradually

Because of their distinctive endings, these adverbs are known as -LY ADVERBS. However, by no means all adverbs end in -ly. Note also that some adjectives also end in -ly, including costly, deadly, friendly, kindly, likely, lively, manly, and timely.
Like adjectives, many adverbs are GRADABLE, that is, we can modify them using very or extremely:

softly very softly
suddenly very suddenly
slowly extremely slowly

The modifying words very and extremely are themselves adverbs. They are called DEGREE ADVERBS because they specify the degree to which an adjective or another adverb applies. Degree adverbs include almost, barely, entirely, highly, quite, slightly, totally, and utterly. Degree adverbs are not gradable (*extremely very).
Like adjectives, too, some adverbs can take COMPARATIVE and SUPERLATIVE forms, with -er and -est:

John works hard -- Mary works harder -- I work hardest
However, the majority of adverbs do not take these endings. Instead, they form the comparative using more and the superlative using most:

Adverb Comparative Superlative
recently more recently most recently
effectively more effectively most effectively
frequently more frequently most frequently

In the formation of comparatives and superlatives, some adverbs are irregular:

Adverb Comparative Superlative
well better best
badly worse worst
little less least
much more most
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:36 PM | Message # 45
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6.2 Adverbs and Adjectives
Adverbs and adjectives have important characteristics in common -- in particular their gradability, and the fact that they have comparative and superlative forms. However, an important distinguishing feature is that adverbs do not modify nouns, either attributively or predicatively:

Adjective Adverb
David is a happy child *David is a happily child
David is happy *David is happily

The following words, together with their comparative and superlative forms, can be both adverbs and adjectives:
early, far, fast, hard, late
The following sentences illustrate the two uses of early:

Adjective Adverb
I'll catch the early train I awoke early this morning

The comparative better and the superlative best, as well as some words denoting time intervals (daily, weekly, monthly), can also be adverbs or adjectives, depending on how they are used.
We have incorporated some of these words into the following exercise. See if you can distinguish between the adverbs and the adjectives.
Although endings, gradability and comparison allow us to identify many adverbs, there still remains a very large number of them which cannot be identified in this way. In fact, taken as a whole, the adverb class is the most diverse of all the word classes, and its members exhibit a very wide range of forms and functions. Many semantic classifications of adverbs have been made, but here we will concentrate on just three of the most distinctive classes, known collectively as circumstantial adverbs.
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