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Attributive & Predicative Adjectives

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Attributive Adjectives

  • An attributive adjective modifies a noun, and comes before that noun, in the first position.
  • They are called "attributive" because they tell the qualities or attributes of nouns.
  • It is possible to leave attribute adjectives out of the sentence - they are optional additions.
  • If you can, though, it's a really good idea to use attributive adjectives, because they give your audience more information about the nouns, so that they can picture what you are talking about.
  • Together with their nouns, they form a noun clause that can be either the subject or the object of the sentence.

For example:

  • He was carrying two big cardboard boxes.
  • Sweet, ripe, red strawberries are my favorite!
  • The beautiful new beach house is on an island!
  • When I turn sixteen, I want a fast red sports car!
  • We have to read seven long, difficult books by next Tuesday!

Predicative Adjectives

  • Predicative adjectives go after the verb, in the second position.
  • They often function as the object of the verb. Since the verb and the object are the predicate of the sentence, we use the term "predicative."
  • They are describing the subject of the sentence.
  • These adjectives are not optional - they play the role of predicate, so they cannot be left out.
  • These adjectives are essential information in the sentence - in fact, the goal of sentences is usually to share this information.

For example:

  • This milk smells rotten.
  • That movie star is handsome.
  • The store is too far to go on foot.
  • Our teachers seem tired on Mondays.
  • I hate it when our school books are so boring.
Summary
  • Attributive adjectives come before a noun. They tell the qualities or attributes of nouns.
  • Predicative adjectives go after the verb, in the second position.
  • They often function as the object of the verb. Since the verb and the object are the predicate of the sentence, we use the term "predicative."

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