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attributive, absolute adjectives
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Member
Posts: 779
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Hi,

'Beautiful girl/hair'

The teacher said that 'beautiful' here is both an attributive and absolute adjective . She explained that adjective which defines a person is an attributive adjective and if it defines things, event or an idea, it is an absolute adjective . Could you please explain this?


Thank you.
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Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 8845
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Not quite. Things are more complicated than this.

See:

Attributive, predicative, absolute, and substantive adjectives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjective#Attributive.2C_p...bstantive_adjectives

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Marius Hancu,
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Posts: 779
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Thanks for that link, Jerry, but the explanation and examples given are not very clear to me. Could you explain it further?
<Richard, Moderator>
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Maybe I can help out, my friend.

I don't know where that definition for attributive and absolute adjectives came from, but it's not correct from what I know.

An attributive adjective simply describes the noun it's with. One easy way to know if an adjective is attributive is if you're able to use it in a comparative sentence. Here are some examples of attributive adjectives with the nouns they're modifying. Note that each one can be put into the comparative form:

  • a poor family
  • a nice dog
  • a cold climate

    An absolute adjective is a word that cannot be used in a normal comparative because it's something that doesn't have degrees to it like good, better, best. Here are some examples of absolute adjectives with the nouns they're modifying:

  • a complete idiot
  • a unique opportunity
  • a dead language

    I hope this clarifies the two kinds of adjectives for you, Iwtk.

    This message has been edited. Last edited by: <Richard, Moderator>,
  • Member
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Posts: 8845
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    quote:
    An absolute adjective is a word that cannot be used in a normal comparative because it's something that doesn't have degrees to it like good, better, best.


    Richard, your definition is supported by:

    absolute adjective
    http://grammar.about.com/od/ab/g/absadjterm.htm

    but not by the link I gave in the above from Wikipedia.

    Are we dealing with multiple definitions about this term? I think so. Here's another one:

    ---------
    Definition

    An absolute adjective is an adjective which functions as a noun.

    Discussion

    This term absolute adjective is applicable, by extension, to other parts of speech which are used similarly, such as possessive pronouns or numerals.

    Examples (English)

    * The poor
    * The mystical in Blake's poetry

    http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerm...bsoluteAdjective.htm
    -------

    This message has been edited. Last edited by: Marius Hancu,
    <Richard, Moderator>
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    First off, thanks for giving me a heads-up about that typo, Jerr. Smile

    As for what an absolute adjective is, I was focusing on the most typical kind of absolute adjective and what distinguishes it from, say, an attributive adjective. I certainly see that by extension, the nominal use of an adjective (e.g., the poor) also falls under the category of absolute adjective since no comparative form can be used. So we're really on the same page, my friend.
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