Talk:Postpositive adjective

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Why is passer-by included in the list? Palpalpalpal (talk) 07:11, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Adjective group placement[edit]

It seems (I’m not an english-speaker so I’m not sure!) that some kind of adjective groups such as "too polite to be honest" or "displayed in the first screen" are always put after the noun, while some others, like "very ugly" or "rather brilliant" are always put in front of it. Is there a definite rule about this? JX Bardant (talk) 11:47, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

In those cases you mentioned there are some words that have been omitted as "the explanation (that is/was) too polite to be honest" or "please, watch the image (that is) displayed in the first screen". Moreover, there are such expression as "mission impossible", "destination unknown", "the counrty so beautiful" or some others the like. I am not a native English-speaker either. --Rantatero (talk) 23:08, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Not strictly adjectives[edit]

  • passer-by. As observed quickly above, "by" is an adverb associated with the verb "pass". However it does follow the general rule for plurals, viz. passer(s)-by.
  • pro tempore. That's a preposition with an object (ablative case). It just happens to be in Latin.
But I don't personally think a couple of such cases are much cause for concern.
Grammatical purists are not the sort of people who need help from a list of this type.
Varlaam (talk) 00:52, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Removed some of these examples, then saw this. There's no "strictly" about it, I think; "by" is simply not an adjective. If this article were about "nominal lexical items with modifiers following the head", it would belong, but it's not, so it doesn't. I think the mention on English_plural#Plurals_of_compound_nouns suffices. 4pq1injbok (talk) 03:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the removal. If we're going to include constructions that are not adjectives, this article should not be called post-positive adjective. "Purism" doesn't even enter into it; it's a question of precision and correctness. Isn't it reasonable to expect that an encyclopedia be precise and correct? If you really want non-adjectives in the list, you should find something else to call it. Saying "this is a list of post-positive adjectives" and then including things that aren't post-positive adjectives is essentially lying. I also see that 4pq1injbok and I aren't the only ones who hold this opinion, so I think it's time to stop adding the non-adjectival examples back in. - furrykef (Talk at me) 16:11, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I've decided a decent compromise should be listing them separately. I admit I am unclear about where mother-in-law and mother-to-be belong -- "in-law" does not exist as an independent adjective, but I can see the logic... - furrykef (Talk at me) 16:24, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I would also suggest that we delete the examples which aren't English - Astraea Redux is Latin, agent provocateur is French. They may be expressions with which an English reader is familiar, but they're still not English. Tevildo (talk) 21:22, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Merchant Marine[edit]

I've heard conflicting cases about the plural of "merchant marine". One side says that "marine" is a postpositive adjective like "attorney general", making the plural "merchants marine". The other says that it pluralizes like "brigadier general", with "marine" as the noun, hence "merchant marines". Does anyone know, or have a strong feeling which way it should go? My take is that the former is correct, but I don't know an authoritative source with a convincing explanation. (talk) 20:50, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Marine is undoubtedly the noun - it's used as a pretty weird synonym for 'navy', which is why Commonwealth English uses the term 'merchant navy'. That means a plural use looks like "The American and Swiss merchant marines are quite different in size".

MacBook Pro[edit]

Would one have two MacBooks Pro? Is there a whole class of computer industry product names like this? Would one have two SoundBlasters Xtreme, two HTCs Droids Incredible? Two Photoshops CS5? The majority of the soi-disant experts at the English StackExchange disagree: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Not so rare in English?[edit]

I don't think it's right to say they are rare in English. Apparently they're standard English grammar after a pronoun, as in "somthing useful", "those responsible", and common after superlative phrases like "the shortest route possible". Have a look here for further explanation. Tayste (edits) 22:50, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

"Bee Gees" (not actually "Brothers Gibb"): removed example[edit]

I've removed the "Brothers Gibb" example because that alleged origin of the "Bee Gees" name is a popular misconception (and besides, if that aetiological myth were true, wouldn't the name be "Bees Gee"?). See the second paragraph of the "History" section of the main Bee Gees article, complete with source (footnote currently numbered 8: Dolgins, Adam: Rock Names: From Abba to ZZ Top, 3rd ed., p.24. Citadel Press, 1998). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

"Sight unseen"[edit]

Is this an example? - Mohanchous (talk) 09:15, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

This strikes me as a borderline case. It's a participial phrase, not unlike the Latin ablative absolute. Most of the entries on this page are fixed phrases, whereas this is a productive grammatical structure -- in other words, it can be used with almost any noun and participle. "The ship passed, sight unseen" and "the ship passed, its sails unfurled" are using essentially the same grammatical structure, but the latter doesn't seem particularly noteworthy. However, the former does seem a bit unusual in that it doesn't require a possessive (we have to say "its sails unfurled", but not "its sight unseen"), so it is arguably a fixed phrase regardless. - furrykef (Talk at me) 10:45, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Every star visible[edit]

Isn't the "star visible" example just another example of an invisible subordinate clause? You can't say "This is a star visible". It has to be followed by something, like "This is a star visible to me". The sentence on the page is actually "Every star [that is] visible is named after a famous astronomer". --AndreRD (talk) 07:01, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

You can so say "This is a star visible." as in "This is a star [that is] visible [from our location]." In this case, it just wouldn't be the titular post-positive adjectival usage of the word "visible", but no one said it had to be. A clause like '[that is]' isn't the only thing that is optional in this example, as the prepositional phrase is also optional. Just like adjectives, prepositional phrases exist to modify other parts of speech, in this case the adjective "visible", but are not required as a syntactical necessity. Leaving these things out might make it sound odd, but oddity does not imply invalidity. :| (talk) 22:09, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Good Examples, Bad Examples[edit]

I suggest the following as other possible good examples.

In designation/versioning

  • Mark (version number, e.g. XII)
  • Version (version number, e.g. 2.0)
  • (Type, e.g. M) (number, e.g. 16) as in the M16 rifle

In fluid mechanics

  • Mach (number, e.g. 5, or even 5)

In ordinal numbering

In poetry

In journalism [1] NBC's "The Body Odd" (health related news site whose name is probably styled after other similar terms)

In emergency situations

In clandestine operations

In military rank

In dangerous vixens

  • Femme fatale (obviously a loan term from a language where post-modifiers are more common)

In generational labeling

In body language

In desserts

In class distinction

In the Apostle's Creed

  • life everlasting

Might I also suggest that:

"best room available", "best choice possible", "worst choice imaginable", "food aplenty", "things possible and impossible", "things forgotten", "words unspoken", "dreams undreamt"

are bad examples as they are really just:

"best room [that is] available", "best choice [that is] possible", "worst choice [that is] imaginable", "food [that is] aplenty", "things [that are] possible and impossible", "things [that are] forgotten", "words [that are] unspoken", "dreams [that are] undreamt"

Furthermore, I don't think that Brigadier General, Major General, or Lieutenant General fit the description, as the words Brigadier, Major, and Lieutenant in these cases are actually the adjectives describing what kinds of Generals they are. (Oddly enough, the Wiktionary entry for Lieutenant General does (currently) state that 'Lieutenants General' is an acceptable alternative of the plural form 'Lieutenant Generals'. However, I have requested, on both the main page and the alternative, some additional evidence of proof of this as an acceptable alternative, as I don't believe it is anything more than an overextension of the plural form of 'Attorney General' and the like. The difference is that in the former, the noun is General, whereas in the latter, the noun is Attorney.) (talk) 22:09, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

I completely agree with you here about the military ranks that include the term "general" as the last word; I was just as suspicious as you. I also love a lot of these additional examples you provide, and I think many should be added to the page. However, I'm not sure I agree with your overall criticism of the "bad examples." In a sentence like "They ate food aplenty," the word "aplenty" is not in a separate clause from the noun ("food") that it modifies. And the word "aplenty" cannot even exist in a phrase separated from the noun it modifies ("You were asking about the food; well, I can tell you that it's aplenty" doesn't make sense, for example). Obviously, this is grammatically feasible with a phrase like "things forgotten," but again, "things" and "forgotten" are in the same clause, so "forgotten" is functioning post-positively. Wolfdog (talk) 22:44, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Accounts payable / receivable?[edit]

Are these also examples? (talk) 01:09, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Un bon vin blanc[edit]

Maybe it could be mentioned in the first section that prepositive and postpositive adjectives may occur in the same expression, such as:

  • un bon vin blanc, "a good white wine"

HandsomeFella (talk) 11:43, 31 December 2015 (UTC)