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Predicative Adjective

The predicative adjective is primarily used when describing a given noun is in fact the main purpose of an entire sense. For example, if one were to say "the man is happy", then that would be a complete sentence, and its purpose would be simply to describe the person's mood. The sentence could be reformatted with the use of an attributive adjective: instead of saying "the man is happy", one could say "the happy man". This would allow for the construction of more complex sentences than what is possible with the predicative adjective.

What is a predicative adjective?

The predicative adjective can be found in some of the simplest of sentences. Really, you would be using one whenever you make the statement that a given noun "is" something or another. We have said, for instance, that this webpage is well-suited for you. In this sentence itself, "well-suited" would actually be the predicative adjective, since it is giving you more information about the nature of the website. 

Example of correct use.

"The man's demeanor appeared menacing to others; but people who knew him said that he was quite warm-hearted."

Here, "menacing" is an predicative adjective describing the man's demeanor, and "warm-hearted" is another predicative adjective attached to the man. 

Example of incorrect use.

"The woman happy had just won the lottery." 

This is incorrect usage because there is no linking verb between the noun woman and the predicative adjective "happy". It would be necessary to say that the woman "was" happy. 

Just in case you a still a little unclear about usage for the predicative adjective, here are a couple rules you can follow. Likewise, you can visit our glossary for more help.

  1. There must always be a linking verb between the predicative adjective and the noun that it is meant to modify. This linking verb is responsible for stating the relationship between the adjective and the noun. For example, if you want to say that you remain unconvinced about something, then "remain" would be the verb that makes clear the relationship between you and the predicative adjective "unconvinced". 
  2. Sometimes, you need to pay attention to the specific forms of the words you are using as a predicative adjective. There are some adjectives that can only be used in a non-predicative way. For example, you may feel like your professor is speaking "utter nonsense"; but it would be grammatically incorrect to say that "the professor's nonsense was utter". 

More Information on predictive adjectives

The predicative adjective is used extremely often. For example, sentences such as, "The sky is blue" or "The weather is bad" or "I am happy" all make use of the predicative adjective. Some of the simplest sentences in the English language consist of nothing other than a noun, a liking verb, and a predicative adjective. This part of speech is just fundamental for making basic sense of the world around us. Sometimes, all people want or need to do is figure out what a given person, place or thing is like. The predicative adjective fulfills this purpose in an admirably simple way. 

The counterpart of the predicative adjective would be the attributive adjective. The phrase "the blue sky" contains the same information as the phrase "the sky is blue"; but the word "blue" is a different kind of adjective in each sentence due to its position. Either one would be appropriate, depending on what you are trying to say and how much attention you want to call to the specific adjective in question. Grammatically, it is only important that you do not use a word (like "utter") as a predicative adjective if it is not meant to be used as one. 

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