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Adjectives That Come After


Adjectives are words that modify a noun. A noun is a person, place or thing. An adjective tells you just a little more about that person, place or thing. A "red" fireplug is an adjective describing a noun. A "lovely" poem tells you what kind of poem it is.


In English, adjectives are more likely to come in front of the noun than after it. But once in a while, they do follow the noun in the order of a sentence. Adjectives are usually after the noun in languages such as French and Spanish. But in English, when the writer is trying to convey superiority in a special way, then they come after the noun.


These adjectives are called "postpositive." It's not because they are positive words. The word "positive" refers to their position in the sentence. They are positioned after the word they modify. The phrase sounds more stylish than if the adjective came ahead of the noun as usual, and puts the focus on the adjective even more than the noun. Postpositives also are used in brand names to set them apart, as with iPod nano ("nano" is the adjective) or Bud Lite ("lite" is the adjective).


Here are some examples:


Trip the light fantastic (sounds more exciting than "the fantastic light")


The best possible


Attorney general (the attorney who is the head or the chief, like a general of attorneys)


Court martial (a military kind of court)


Florist extraordinaire (to describe anybody who's extra good at his or her job, you could use this postpositive adjective)


Proof positive



By Susan Darst Williams Grammar Granny 025 2006


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