Talk:every other

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This misses several tests for adjectives

  • *The beads are every other.
  • *The very every other bead is missing.

and seems to fit wherever the, a or an will work.

  • Please visit (a,the,every other) patient.
  • (The, a, every other) bead is missing.

so I'd really prefer "Indefinite article."

I give these examples for the second sense, but they apply equally to the first.

I think it is an adjective for several reasons.
  • There are adjectives that fail your tests but that are adjectives all the same. Not all adjectives can be used postpositively (after the noun) - compare "A land mammal", *"This mammal is land" and *"A very land mammal" ("land" here is a modifier, a noun used as an adjective; these adjectives are used only prepositively and do not have comparatives or superlatives).
  • Some grammarians call possessive pronouns ("my", etc) possessive adjectives (although these can only be used prepositively, the postpositive forms being "mine", etc).
  • By definition, the indefinite article is "a" (with variant form "an"), so "every" categorically cannot be an indefinite article.
  • "Every" is stated to be an adjective in other dictionaries (eg, dictionary.com). "Every other" works in the same way in the sentence, suggesting that it too is an adjective (or an adjectival phrase).
Hence I would say that "every other" is an adjective. -- Paul G 13:49, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Agreed, "every other" is just as much an adjective as any. If anything I'd be tempted to label them numbers, albeit neither cardinal nor ordinal. —Muke Tever 14:35, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I'll save Hippietrail the trouble of pointing out that "land" in "land mammal" is an attributive noun and not an adjective, as indicated by precisely the tests you cite. I'll also agree that every and every other are just as much adjectives as any, but only because I think that any isn't an adjective either.
So what do we call words like each every any some, etc.? I believe that "indefinite pronoun" (or technically "indefinite pronoun phrase" in the case of "every nth") is accepted. See http://www.bartleby.com/61/79/I0097900.html for example. I'm not sure if this squares with the current conventions on parts of speech in Wiktionary, but I for one find it more comfortable than "adjective" -dmh 14:57, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Actually, looking at this difficulty now I wouldn't hesitate to call all of those words numbers, or indefinite numbers if necessary. —Muke Tever 16:38, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
There's a difference between every and each/any/some: every is only an adjective, never a pronoun. Each of the latter three can be a pronoun, as in this sentence. By comparison, "Every of the latter three" makes no sense. Likewise, "every other of the latter three" is meaningless. But "each word", "any word", "some words", "every other word" are all reasonable—these are all adjectives. Ortonmc 20:04, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Can y’all recommend a good book or website for learning this stuff? I studied grammar back in grade school, but now have more questions than answers. —Długosz

As may be clear by now, this is a topic on which reasonable minds may disagree. -dmh 20:41, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)