Syntax Of Adjectives In English

1428 Words 6 Pages
Analysis of Syntax of Adjectives in English In this paper, I will discuss the syntactic category of adjectives. Adjectives are defined by Finegan as “A lexical category of words that serve semantically to specify the attributes of nouns” (Finegan, 2015, p. 539). In English, adjectives do not always have the same location syntactically, but can vary in their location based on different syntactic rules and meaning of the phrase or sentence. In this paper, I will be analyzing the syntax of nominalized adjectives, denominal and collateral adjectives, attributive versus predicative adjectives, and finally postpositive adjectives.
Data and Discussion
Nominal adjectives are an interesting form that adjectives can take. While most adjectives exist
…show more content…
They are similar in their syntax, but differ in relation to the noun or nouns they are derived from. Denominal adjectives are derived from the noun that they are modifying another noun to be like. For example, the denominal adjective papery means ‘like paper’, and if it modified the noun biscuit, it would mean that the biscuit was like paper. (Denominal Adjective). These contrast with collateral adjectives, which are derived from different roots than the noun which they share a meaning with. We do not use the nonsense words *cow-y or *cow-ular but instead use a collateral adjective bovine, which is derived from the French bovin not the English cow. Denominal adjectives are prone to the same syntactical forms as other adjectives, they can be nominalized, attributive, predicative and postpositive, and the only significant feature syntactically is the fact that they are used instead of the noun form. For instance, a noun phrase could be formed with two nouns in the phrase [A fish platter], or it could be formed with the collateral adjective [A piscine platter]. Both semantically mean the same thing, but are formed with two different syntactic categories (Schliefer, 2002, p. …show more content…
This means that they can either be directly connected and modifying the noun, or be part of a verb phrase that links the adjective to the noun (Adjective). A simple example of this difference would be the phrase [The red ball] versus [The ball is red]. In the first example, red serves as an attributive adjective. This can be shown in the vertical structure, where red is part of a noun phrase. In the second example, red is a predicative adjective, shown by being part of the verb phrase in the vertical

Related Documents

Related Topics