Post-positive Adjectives in English

By Maeve Maddox

An often-noted distinction between English and the Romance languages is that in English, adjectives precede the noun. English-speakers state “the red automobile,” whereas French-speakers state, “the vehicle red” (la voiture rouge).
English has lots of examples of post-positive adjectives: adjectives that follow the noun.
A few of these after-the-noun adjectives belong to set phrases, collocations whose elements are repaired in a specific order.
Some of these phrases obtain from foreign borrowings from Latin or other languages in which the post-positive adjective is typical. Such phrases are well represented in legal, governmental, and fiscal vocabulary.
court-martialmalice aforethoughtpersona non grataaccounts payablefee simplepound sterlingattorney generalbody politicheir apparentletters patentnotary publicattorney generalpostmaster generalprince regentpoet laureate
In general, phrases with the adjective after the noun are usually pluralized by adding the– s to the noun.
courts-martialfees simplenotaries public
Positioning the– s at the end of the expression may one day be appropriate with all of them. At present, the Oxford English Dictionary flat out calls court martials “incorrect.” On the other hand, the OED approves of attorney-generals. Merriam-Webster, an US dictionary, gives courts-martial initially, but allows court-martials as an alternative. The exact same chooses attorney general of the United States: the first choice in M-W is chief law officers, however chief law officer is provided as an appropriate alternative.
Putting the adjective after the noun prevails in the naming of dishes and beverages.
spaghetti Bolognesechicken supremeeggs Benedictbeef bourguignonbeef Stroganoffbeef Wellingtonlobster Newburgfettuccine Alfredooysters Rockefellerbananas Fostercherries jubileepeach Melbabrandy AlexanderCuba librewhiskey sour
Alcoholics Anonymous with its post-positive qualifier has actually introduced a number of twelve-step emulators.Emotions AnonymousMarijuana AnonymousSexaholics AnonymousOvereaters AnonymousFood Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
Another source for post-positive adjectives is spiritual writing and poetry. Maybe putting the adjective at the end magnifies a thought or image. Examples of spiritual terms consist of God almighty, devil incarnate, life long lasting, and Church victorious.
Longfellows long poem Evangeline opens with the memorable “This is the forest primeval.” The poet follows this up with hemlocks bearded with moss, garments green, voices prophetic and sad, harpers hoar, and accents disconsolate– all within the first 6 lines of the poem.
Perhaps since post-positive adjectives have a poetic ring, authors utilize them in titles.
Sarah Tall and Plain (Patricia MacLachlan) Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh) Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt) Paradise Lost (John Milton) Prometheus Unbound (Percy Bysshe Shelley) Rabbit Redux (John Updike) Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola).
Note on reduxThe adjective redux is always utilized post-positively. As a title aspect, redux has been around at least since the seventeenth century, when John Dryden wrote a long poem called Astraea Redux to celebrate the restoration of Charles II. The existence of redux on the Ngram audience is modest up until the 1970s, when John Updike made it popular with the publication of Rabbit Redux (1971 ).

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Another source for post-positive adjectives is spiritual writing and poetry. Maybe putting the adjective at the end intensifies an idea or image. Keep in mind on reduxThe adjective redux is always utilized post-positively. As a title aspect, redux has actually been around at least since the seventeenth century, when John Dryden wrote a long poem called Astraea Redux to commemorate the restoration of Charles II. The existence of redux on the Ngram viewer is modest until the 1970s, when John Updike made it popular with the publication of Rabbit Redux (1971 ).

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