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Athabasca University ESL Course

Athabasca University ESL, Unit 7: Adjectives and Adverbs

Lesson 65: POSITION OF ADJECTIVES

Most adjectives can go either in a noun phrase (Lesson 45) or alone.

In a noun phrase

a The adjective goes before the noun or pronoun:

a difficult exam (NOT exam difficult)

an open window (NOT window open)

happy people

the red one

b If you want to write two or more adjectives together in a noun phrase, the usual order is:

[F]: FEELING [S]: SIZE [A]: AGE [C]: COLOUR [P]: PLACE [T]: TYPE [N]: NOUN

[F] nice [S] big [C] green [T] sports [N] car

[A] old [P] Toronto [N] houses

[S] large [C] black [T] cotton [N] shirt

[F] wonderful [A] new [P] Japanese [T] MP3 [N] player

NOTICE: If the noun is something, anyone or a similar word (Lesson 51: NOTICE), the adjective goes after the noun:
I want something large. (NOT large something)

NOTICE: The adjectives afraid, alive, alone, asleep, awake, ill and well cannot go in a noun phrase.


Alone

There are two positions:

a After the verbs be, become, feel, get, look, seem, smell, sound and taste. For example:

The house was red.
Everybody became happy.
It feels cold.
He seemed friendly.

(Friendly is an adjective, NOT an adverb.)

b After a noun phrase and the verbs call, find, get, hate, have, leave, like, make, paint and want. For example:

They painted the house red.
He pushed a window open.
It made them happy.
I found him friendly.

NOTICE: Adjectives from nouns, and a few other adjectives (for example, main, only) cannot go alone.


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