I have made up some examples using 'limited edition' and 'first edition' separately.

(1a) The colourful vase is limited edition.

(1b) The colourful vase is limited edition.

(1c) This is a limited edition vase.

(2a) The grammar book is a first edition.

(2b) The grammar book is first edition.

(2c) This is a first edition book.

My non-native English speaking friends think both (1b) and (2b) are wrong and the rest are good.

Could someone please explain why those two are incorrect? Thank you very much.

Original Post

Hi, Ansonman,

I agree with your friends. The point is that, unlike other similar compound adjectives that are hyphenated and form a single word, like "first-class" or "world-class," "limited edition" and "first edition" have not evolved into adjectives proper and, having remained strongly nominal, only accept the attributive position (before nouns) when their function is adjectival.

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