Thursday, January 19, 2006

Grammar Tip 5: Adjectives after the Noun

Usually in English adjectives, or describing words, come before the noun:

It was a large amount. He is a responsible citizen. She is an interested volunteer.

In order to put the adjective after the noun, you need to make a clause of some kind:

It was an amount that was large. He is a citizen who is responsible. She is a volunteer who is interested.

However, look out for cases in English where the adjective comes
after the noun. These are sometimes called participle adjectives. Look at these examples:

I wrote to the person concerned.
I got a rebate for tax paid.
They worked through the night to repair the damage caused.
I need to contact the people responsible.
Did you receive the amount due?

Notice that the adjective comes after the noun. It does not work before the noun. In these sentences, the relative clause is omitted and the participle becomes an adjective:

I wrote to the person (who is) concerned.

You need to look out for these participles because sometimes the adjective before the noun gives you a totally different meaning:

I wrote to the concerned person. (= another meaning of 'concerned').

Note: Sometimes an adjective can go before or after a noun. Some common examples are
infected, affected, remaining and stolen.

Rub the infected area with an antiseptic cream.
Rub the area infected with an antiseptic cream.

All remaining passengers must wait in the lounge.
All passengers remaining must wait in the lounge.

The stolen jewels were worth $2 million.
The jewels stolen were worth $2 million.