1 GRAMMATICAL DELIMITATION OF ADJECTIVES
Definition: Word that qualifies a noun, adds to its meaning but limits its application.
Adjectives have the same form for singular and plural, masculine and feminine. There are exceptions like this/that and these/those.
Some can have the inflectional endings –er and –est for the comparative and superlative, others make the comparative and the superlative by means of more and most.
Present participles (swimming) and past participles (finished) are verbal adjectives.
ATTRIBUTIVE FUNCTION: They precede or, more rarely, they follow the noun they qualify.
Prepositive: a large house
Postpositive: a house larger than mine
PREDICATIVE FUNCTION: They predicate with the verb to be or other predicative verbs (seem, look, become, get…).
Subject complement: he is happy.
Object complement: he made me happy.
Adjectives can function as nouns: The English love tea. I love the new.
FUNCTIONING AS RELATIVE CLAUSES
The boy, tired, went to bed.
The man waiting for the bus is my uncle.
They can be descriptive, denoting a quality (a political ambition), or limiting, denoting a category, (a political meeting).
Thomson and Martinet give a clear classification of adjectives:
Demonstratives, distributive, quantitative, possessive, interrogative, of quality.
FROM A MORPHOLOGICAL POINT OF VIEw
Formed from substantives:
childish troublesome dangerous natural moody friendly beautiful ciareless
formed from verbs:
pleasant talkative admirable interesting bored
formed by adding prefixes:
intolerant, impolite, unsociable, unreliable, illegal, irregular, disappointed, misarranged, amoral
ACCORDING TO THE SYNTACTIC FUNCTION THEY CAN PERFORM
Both attributive and predicative:
The day was sunny, a sunny day.
Joint efforts, an utter fool
He was alone.
FROM A SEMANTIC POINT OF VIEw
Stative: they don´t imply change, they can´t be used with progressive aspect nor the imperative.
Dynamic: they refer to transitory condition.
Gradable / non-gradable.
Gradable: or descriptive. They can be modified by adverbs, can be compared.
Non-gradable / limitive. They can´t…
COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES
There are three degrees of comparison in English: positive, comparative, and superlative.
The suffixes er and est are used with:
Two syllable adjectives ending in:
A vocalic sound narrow clever
Syllabic l simple
Having the stress on the last syllable. Politer
We use the adverbs more and most with all longer words
With a few two syllable adjectives both forms are possible: common, clever
Adjectives ending in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the final consonant fatter
Adjectives ending in mute e add r, st. brave
Two syllable adjectives ending in y: the y becomes I
Good, bad old little many much far
An r regains its consonant value rarer
Syllabic l becomes non syllabic simple
The sound g appears after n longer
Gradual increase and
Two changes happen together the… the…
OTHER COMPARING STRUCTURES
AS LIKE (two elements are similar)
LIKE and ALIKE They are alike. What is your sister like?
SO THAT, SUCH THAT
COMPARISON WITH NOUNS More of a
THE POSITION OF ADJECTIVES
Three possible positions. Attributive adjectives can precede or follow the noun they qualify. Predicative complements follow the verb be, seem, look, etc.
Attributive adjectives usually precede the noun. They follow the noun in the following cases:
With nouns denoting measure. A road 50 feet wide.
Followed by a prepositional phrase: a man greedy for money. Red with anger.
With some latin expressions. God almighty, lord spiritual.
With compounds of body, one, thing, where. Somebody tall
In apposition to proper names William the conqueror.
When they express an action or an occurrence. The car stolen yesterday.
RELATIVE POSITION OF TwO OR MORE ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES
Temperature, shape and size, age, colour, origin, material NOUN.
DIFFERENT MEANING ACCORDING TO POSITION
Apparent contradiction (seeming) / it is not apparent (evident)
Due consideration (proper) / the money due (payable)
Ill luck (bad) / he is ill (sick)
Present king (existing now) / the people present (being there)
OTHER WORDS FUNCTIONING AS ADJECTIVES
INFINITIVES the days to come
ADVERBS The then president.
NOUNS ´stone ´walls: even stress, and or, the silver one, singular with plural concepts.