Noun Premodification with Adjectives and Participles

Understanding premodification


Adjectives give us information about the qualities or attributes of something (descriptors), for example goodevaluative adjective chanceheadword. They also act as classifiers, giving information about what particular group, section, rank, affiliation or subject area to which a noun belongs, for example igneousclassificational adjective (as opposed to sedimentary or metamorphic rocks) rockheadword.

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The following are topical classifiers. They define a particular subject area or group. They are restrictive in the sense that they exclude other areas of the head noun. For example medical science restricts the noun "science" to one particular area, that of medicine. 

The following contains a restrictive classifier, and an affiliative classifier (belonging to a national, ethnic or religious group).


Participles have the same function as adjectives and are derived from verbs. There are two forms, the -ing form and the -ed from, for example: manufacturingparticiple adjective from the verb to manufacture processesheadword, relaxedparticiple adjective from the verb to relax stateheadword

-ing participles
-ed participles

These examples were sourced from articles in The Conversation: PlateTectonics; Nobel Prize; Ultra-Processed Foods; Extra Sunlight; Bus Transport; Working Memory; Productive Countries.

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