Home TEFL forum Grammar & Vocabulary adjectives before and after nouns.

adjectives before and after nouns.

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  • Debs_89
    Participant
    21 May, 2013 at 22:08
    • Total posts: 17

    Hey guys!

    One of my students asked me a question and I found it tricky to explain. There was a question in their test "Is their family big?" He wanted to know why big came after the noun. We can say "It is a big family" or "Their family is big" I just need help explaining the difference.

    Also, is it correct to say I have many animals?? For some reason it just doesn’t sound right! I have a lot of animals just sounds more correct

    ICAL TEFL
    Participant
    22 May, 2013 at 9:39
    • Total posts: 158

    Reply To: adjectives before and after nouns.

    Adjectives usually precede a noun: a BIG family.

    These are called attributive adjectives.

    However, they can also follow a verb: the family is BIG.

    These are called predicative adjectives.

    Some adjectives are either attributive or predicative; most can be either.

    This article explains it fully: Adjective Position


    ICAL – TEFL Courses & TEFL Resources

    Debs_89
    Participant
    22 May, 2013 at 22:56
    • Total posts: 17

    Reply To: adjectives before and after nouns.

    Thank you very much for your help :)

    dan
    Moderator
    22 May, 2013 at 23:49
    • Total posts: 770

    Reply To: adjectives before and after nouns.

    Just to expand a little on what ICAL says:

    Their family is big.

    Their are three parts to this sentence:

    – Subject (their family)
    – Linking verb (is)
    – Subject complement (big)

    Linking verbs "link" the subject with the subject complement. So the subject complement gives us some more information about (in other words it "complements") the subject.

    Adjectives are very commonly used as subject complements, and in this case we put them after the linking verb and call them, as ICAL mentioned, predicate adjectives.

    Hope that helps.

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