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Adjective is not an adjective[edit]

The first sense (as of 15 October, 2006) as an adjective, is not an adjective; it is a noun. If this is called an adjective, then every (I believe) English noun must also have an entry for adjective because they can all be used to modify other nouns. For example:

  • a government office
  • a police car
  • a Toronto park
  • the Smith residence
  • a knife sharpener

Clearly, this would be pointless.

Other ways to tell that nouns are not adjectives are:

  • they are not gradeable (*The knifest shapener)
  • they cannot be modified by an adverb (*an efficiently electricity generator)
  • they can be modified by other adjectives (a clean-electricity generator)
  • they cannot appear predicatively (*The sharpener is knife)

That is, they don't have any other properties of adjectives.

I believe the second sense is also a noun, but I'm unfamiliar with it. Does it pass the tests above? --BrettR 16:02, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

All my dictionaries define adjective as an adjective as well as a noun. Our definition isn't very good though. This is part of the OED's adjective definition . . .

  A. adj. Of the nature of an addition or adjunct.

    1. Gram. Naming or forming an adjunct to a noun substantive; added to or dependent on a substantive as an attribute. noun adjective: a word standing for the name of an attribute, which being added to the name of a thing describes the thing more fully or definitely, as a black coat, a body politic; now usually called an adjective only, see B. 
    2. Hence, gen. Not standing by itself, dependent. Used spec. of colours that are not permanent without a basis. 
    3. Of Law: Relating to procedure, the subsidiary part of law; opposed to substantive, relating to the essential justice of law. 

SemperBlotto 16:15, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

I've now changed the definition and added a quote. Revert as needed. --BrettR 18:47, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

On a side note, many adjectives can also be used as collective nouns to mean the type or group of people exhibiting a particular quality, e.g. "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," or, "The drunk are not noted for their brilliant conversation." As with nouns-as-modfiers, I think adjectives used as collective nouns are a property of adjectives, rather than something we want to try to catalog separately for each word that might be adapted in such a manner. —Dvortygirl 19:38, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. These are adjectives functioning as fused modifier-heads. They are still gradeable and take adverb modifiers.--BrettR 19:54, 31 October 2006 (UTC)


This article is artistic with quotes about god. There is no modern english spoken definition about the word adjective and when attemping to add one it seems is either bot protected or someone is watching over it. This is a free resource for information and you have stolen it. No child could understand 'adjective' from this page. Munkey 07:17, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

The word adjective has two distinct sides, one being an adjective itself and the other a noun. The meaning that you are thinking of is the noun. You have to go down to the noun definition to find what you are looking for. The adjectival meaning of adjective is something quite different. —Stephen 07:30, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Ah so the low end easy to understand educative purposeful etc. Wipe that one and produce Greek of thousands of years ago. The easy to understand definition is more important even if the history is more closely protected and cherished. Munkey 07:36, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Is the whole wiki restricted on easy reading? (pure first couple of looks for me, I see your talk page is bottomless)

Munkey 07:39, 21 December 2007 (UTC)