Answers: attributive and predicative adjectives in context

The attributive adjectives are printed in red and the predicative adjectives in green.

The young boy had never seen such a lovely house, with its colourful quaint windows and picturesque setting, shaded by ancient oaks and beeches. It was small and crooked, quite different to the manor-house in the distance with its stately towers and lofty battlements. To him, however, it looked comfortable and homely. He stood and stared, silent and respectful. Immersed in his own magical dream-world, he did not notice the slight, lone figure appear in the dark porch. As the old woman hobbled down the gloomy path, he was in a magical place, lost in dreams of full tables and warm beds. It was only the cold touch of an ancient hand that brought him back. And he fled, fearful. Wakened from a happy world to grim reality, he imagined the feeble owner of that cottage a cruel witch, yearning for his fresh young bones.

5 responses to “Answers: attributive and predicative adjectives in context

  1. If I wrote… “The young boy jumped on the happy horse”

    young (adj) boy(noun) jumped(verb) happy(adj) horse(noun) …I think

    “young” is before “boy” so it’s att attributive
    “happy” is after the verb “jumped” but before the noun “horse” so how is it affected? Is “happy” also attributive as it’s before it’s noun or predicative as it follows a verb?


  2. Hi Richard,
    Your identification of adjectives, nouns and verbs is spot on, and you’re right that “young” is an attributive adjective linked to “boy”. Although the second adjective “happy” comes after the verb, it is linked to a new noun – this makes it (as you suggest) another attributive adjective. An adjective is only predicative if it is referring back to the noun in front of the verb: for example, the young boy was happy. In this sentence, the adjective following the verb is not linked to a new noun, but to the noun phrase “the young boy” which comes before the verb. Does this make sense? It’s all about working out semantically linked groups of words. In your sentence, it is the horse that is “happy” rather than the “boy”! Hope that helps …

  3. Evelina

    Hello, in this case ‘shaded’ is not an attributive adjective?

    • Hi Evelina, ‘shaded’ is not an attributive adjective. Here the past participle ‘shaded’ is at the front of a non-finite clause. Although it is certainly adding to the description, it is not functioning as an adjective. It is an example of post-modification (‘a lovely house … shaded by ancient oaks …’): the head noun ‘house’ is premodified by the adjective ‘lovely’ and post-modified by the non-finite clause ‘shaded by ancient oaks’. Attributive adjectives always come before a noun in a noun phrase. If the description had been “the shaded house”, ‘shaded’ would have been an attributive adjective. If noun phrases or any of the terms used here are new to you, you could look at the post from 24 Feb 2015 called ‘Should I watch it? – Tell me in a (noun) phrase…’Hope that helps – if not get back to me!

  4. Neha

    In these sentences show which is predicative adjective and which is attributive adjective
    1There was heavy damage to buildings in that area.
    2 Gauri called several times.
    3 Mani was absent last week.
    4 the children were excited about the picnic.
    5 Kolkata is a large City.
    6 the wise man waited patiently
    7 the first prize was taken by a young child
    8 the last train leaves at 11:30 p.m.
    9 some dreams often seem real
    10 this book is a good read

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