Attributive and predicative adjectives


An attributive adjective comes before a noun and is part of the noun phrase.

an old car
a young actress
she is an old woman

Predicative adjectives come directly after be, seem, etc. They can be used on their own the complement.

This car is old.
The teacher seems angry.

There can be some changes when adjectives are used attributively. It goes for such adjectives as old, late and heavy.

Chris Wilson is very old now. (in years)
He's an old friend. (I've known him for many years)


Your bag is very heavy. (in weight)
Wilson is a heavy smoker. (he smokes a lot)


You are late again. (you are not on time)
My late uncle was a farmer. / the late President (he's dead now)

Remember that attributive adjectives can be used with limited number of nous e.g. heavy smoker/drinker/sleeper but not e.g. worker.

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