Why do distributive adjectives mostly take a singular noun while quantitative adjectives mostly take a plural noun?

I am sure that there are some exceptions to this, but I have noticed that distributive adjectives like “each”, “every”, “either”, “neither”, etc., mostly take a singular noun, while quantitative adjectives like “some”, “many”, “all”, “few” etc., in most cases take a plural noun. Both of these set of words refer to the number of … Read more

Correct or not: noun and adjective being predicative together

I’m thinking about such a sentence: He is a lawyer, arrogant and smart. or He is an idiot, arrogant and short-sighted. Please note that here I just want to list the noun and the adjectives altogether, no casual relation between the noun and the adjectives (like he is arrogant and smart because he is a … Read more

How does “aboriginal” mean “unsophisticated”?

A list of SAT vocabulary words from www.FreeVocabulary.com gives the following definition for the word aboriginal: aboriginal adj. Primitive; unsophisticated. I know that aboriginal means a person or group of people who have been living beforehand or the first people to live in a certain region. How does it mean “unsophisticated”? Answer aboriginal OED a. … Read more

What determines the stress of an adjective formed by adding “-ive” to a verb ending in “-ate”?

Some verbs ending in -ate keep their original syllable stress when you add the suffix -ive to form an adjective e.g., imitate/imitative meditate/meditative investigate/investigative For others, the stress moves to the antepenultimate syllable and the ‘a’ in -ative is reduced; e.g., indicate/indicative contemplate/contemplative interrogate/interrogative Is there a rule or any kind of historical reason why … Read more

Words to describe a person that values merit and achievemnt

Or, you could say, a proponent of meritocracy (descriptors for opponents of meritocracy also welcome, see details below). Please don’t say “meritocrat”, I would rather avoid that one. Nouns and adjectives are all welcome, single-word descriptions preferred, but two-word descriptions are fine too. The terms should also not rely on reference to other ideologies or … Read more

eligibility criterion for an -ing form to serve as a deverbal adjective

a dog which is barking can be rephrased as a barking dog; I am wondering whether a patient who is coughing can be rephrased as a coughing patient? similarly, can we rephrase something (such as a dog, a train, etc.) which is running as a running dog/ train, etc.? the -ing form of some verbs … Read more

Why do grammars claim that adjective+adjective is always a morphological compound and never a syntactic construction?

According to CGEL (and all other sources I looked at so far, such as Quirk et al. and Biber et al.), the following are morphological compounds, i.e. compound adjectives, and not syntactic composites where one adjective appears as a pre-head modifier in an adjective phrase:    dark-blue    icy-cold    pale-green    red-hot    white-hot The possibility that some of these could be syntactic … Read more

Is “this last year” proper English?

I’ve admired @BernieSanders’ courage for 20 years and loved getting to know him this last year on the trail. —Pete Buttigieg It seems to mean “in the past twelve months” according to my research. Answer Is “this last year” proper English? Yes, it means “in the 12 months prior to today” This contrasts with “last … Read more

What does the construction “indefinite article + adjective” mean?

I came accross sentences like these: “blablabla” says a breathless Mrs Johnson. “Dinosaur Jr. set to release new album mid-2016, says a nervous Lou Barlow” Are breathless and nervous an attribute of Mrs Johnson and Lou Barlow in the sentences below, or there is a grammatical construction “a/an + adjective” and two examples of this … Read more