Noncoordinate Adjectives

Noncoordinate Adjectives :

The word adjective is derived from the Latin word nōmen adjectīvum, which means additional noun. In the linguistic tradition of Latin and Greek ,adjectives were amended for gender, number and case like nouns(this process is known as declension), hence they were believed to be a subtype of noun. The words which are known as nouns today, were then called substantive nouns or nōmen substantīvum. In the past, noun substansive and noun adjective were used in English. Gradually noun substansive was known as noun and noun adjective was known as only adjectives.

Types of use

Normally, an adjectives can be used in three ways, like:

Attributive adjective : That's an interesting idea

Predicative adjective : That idea is interesting

Nominal adjectives : I read two books to them; he preferred the sad book, but she preferred the happy

Now let us discuss in detail……

Attributive adjectives are a portion of the noun phrase led by the noun which is being modified by the adjective. Example : Happy people… here happy is an attributive adjective and people a noun. In certain cases, attributive adjectives come before their nouns, in other cases, attributive adjectives come after their nouns, and in some cases it is dependent on adjective or on the accurate relationship of the adjective to the noun. In English language, attributive adjectives normally come before their nouns in simple phrases, but time and again adjectives come after their nouns when the adjective is modified or qualified by a phrase which is acting as an adverb. For example: "I saw three happy kids", here happy (adjective), kids (noun)…in this case adjective is coming before noun. Now let’s have a look at another example: "I saw three kids happy enough to jump up and down with glee." Here happy (adjective) comes after kids (noun).

Predicative adjectives are connected by means of a copula or other connecting method to the noun or pronoun they modulate. For instance, “happy" is a predicative adjective in “they are happy" and in “that made me happy".

Nominal adjectives function more or less as nouns. This can happen in a case where a noun is omitted and an attributive adjective is left behind. For example : "I read two books to them; he preferred the sad book, but she preferred the happy". In this case happy is a nominal adjective, short for “happy one" or “happy book".

Several languages, including English, differentiate between adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives moderates nouns and pronouns. Adverbs , mostly moderate verbs, adjectives, other adverbs. Example : “a fast car"…here fast is an adjective , qualifying car (noun).Let’s have a look at another example : “he drove fast"….here fast is an adverb which qualifies the verb drove.

Determiners and adjectives

Today Linguists differentiate determiners from adjectives, as they consider them to be two separate parts of speech, but previously determiners were considered to be adjectives ,based upon their usage in certain cases.

Adjective phrases

In an adjective phrase or adjectival phrase, an adjective acts as the leader. In the simplest case, an adjective phrase contains merely adjective, more difficult adjective phrases may include one or more qualifying the adjective (“very strong"), one or more complements , like “worth several dollars", “full of toys" etc. In English language, attributive adjective phrases which contain complements usually follow the noun which they qualify.

In English language , adjectives form an open class, which means it is comparatively a normal matter that new adjectives would be formed thru such processes as derivation.

Comparative and superlative adjectives

In English language there are three degrees of adjectives:

Positive Adjectives (Example: rich) : These adjectives specify a quality of an object without comparing it to anything else.

Comparative Adjectives (Example : richer) : These types of adjectives compare two things or group of things.

Superlative adjectives (Example : richest) : These type of adjectives states that one object or thing has a quality to a greater degree than two or more other object or thing.

Forming comparatives and superlatives

For comparing two things, the (est) suffix is never suitable, even though this particular rule is not followed in case of informal speech and writing.

Example: Fat, Fatter, Fattest, late, later, latest.

Adjectives of three or more syllables use more and most instead of (er) and (est)….familiar, more familiar, most familiar

Few adjectives of two syllables also use more and most-, more active, most active. Few of them use the comparative and superlative suffixes – example : shabby, shabbier, shabbiest.

Participles which are used as adjectives take more and most in place of (er) and (est) ….like outmoded, more outmoded, most outmoded ; boring , more boring, most boring.

Irregular comparative and superlative adjectives

The most common adjectives have irregular comparative and superlative forms, they are :


Far, farther/further, farthest/furthest

Good, better, best

Participial adjectives

A past participle(-ed word) or present participle(-ing word) which functions as an adjective is known as a participle adjective. Participial adjectives perform like any other type of adjective. Eg: the emptied boxes, a flashing light, the undulating waves.. Here the participle in each of the phrases mentioned modifies the noun that is ensued.

Proper adjectives

A proper adjective is an adjective which originates from a proper noun. Normally they begin with capital letters like… Australian dollar, Iranian embassy. But it should be remembered that a noun which is qualified by a proper adjective should not be capitalized. Eg: Iranian Embassy…is incorrect.

Coordinate Adjectives

Coordinate adjectives are those adjectives, which make sense even if the series is reordered or when and is added between those adjectives.

For example:

The tall, creamy, delicious milkshake melted on the counter while the inattentive waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

The delicious, tall, creamy milkshake melted on the counter while the inattentive waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

The tall and creamy and delicious milkshake melted on the counter while the inattentive waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

In the above examples the series of adjectives make sense even when the order is changed. When and is inserted in between the adjectives , still they make a logical sentence.

Noncoordinate Adjectives

Noncoordinate Adjectives are those adjectives which do not make sense when the series is rearranged and when and is added between them.

For Example :

Jeanne's two fat Siamese cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

Now if the order or the arrangement of the adjectives is changed , then the sentence becomes twaddle….

Fat Siamese two Jeanne's cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

Now lets see when and is added:

Jeanne's and two and fat and Siamese cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

The least believable detail of the story was that the space aliens had offered Eli a slice of pepperoni pizza before his release.

Several languages have distinctive verbal forms called participles which acts as noun modifiers. Sometimes participles mature into pure adjectives.

Examples : relieved…I am so relieved to see u. Here “relieved" is the past participle of the verb relieve, has been used as an adjective in the sentence.

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