Attributive Position of Adjectives
Attributive adjectives go before the nouns they qualify.
- She is a beautiful (adjective) girl (noun).
- They have a big (adjective) house (noun) in the city.
- This is a vexed (adjective) problem (noun).
- She married a rich (adjective) man (noun).
Attributive adjectives after nouns
1. Attributive adjectives can be put after nouns. This happens in certain fixed phrases.
Examples are: Attorney General, court martial, poet laureate, time immemorial, heir apparent etc.
2. Certain adjectives ending in -ible and -able are also put after the nouns they qualify.
- We tried all means (noun) possible (adjective). (= We tried
all means that were possible)
- Book all the tickets available. (=Book all the tickets that
3. Adjectives are always placed after words like something, everything, anything, nothing, somebody, everybody, somewhere etc.
- Let us go somewhere quiet.
- I heard something interesting today.
- Nothing logical ever happens there.
Adjectives used only in attributive position
Some adjectives are used only in attributive position.
Common examples are: elder, eldest, live, little, mere, sheer etc.
My elder sister is a doctor.
- Can you eat a live fish?
- They have a nice little house in the city.
- It was sheer madness.
- She is a mere child.
After a verb, other words must be used.
She is older than me. (NOT ---elder than me.)
- The fish is still alive. (NOT -- is still live.)
- Their house is small. (NOT -- is little)
- The baby fell asleep. (NOT -- fell sleeping.)