Main Difference – Attributive vs Predicative Adjectives
Adjectives can be divided into two categories based on their position in a sentence. Adjectives can occur both before and after a noun. These two positions are called attributive position and predicative position. When an adjective occurs before a noun, it is in the attributive position and that adjective is called an attributive adjective. When an adjective occurs after a noun, it is in the predicative position and the adjective is called a predicative adjective. Therefore, the main difference between attributive and predicative adjectives is that attributive adjectives occur before the noun whereas predicative adjectives occur after the noun. Most adjectives in the English language can be used as both attributive and predicative adjectives.
In this article, we’ll look at,
1. What are Attributive Adjectives? – Position, Usage, and Examples
2. What are Predicative Adjectives? – Position, Usage, and Examples
3. Difference Between Attributive and Predicative Adjectives
What are Attributive Adjectives
The pretty girl smiled at me.
He opened the wooden door.
She was carrying a heavy suitcase.
Marian was the tenth applicant.
This vicious, horrible crime was committed by a mad man.
Most adjectives can be used in the attributive and predicative positions.
Pretty girl – the girl is pretty
Mad man – the man is mad
Heavy suitcase – the suitcase looks heavy
However, some adjectives can only be used in the attributive position. Adjectives such as live, mere, elder, little, and sheer are some examples for this type of adjectives.
This shop doesn’t sell live animals. (Animals that are still alive)
He lives in a little house. (A house that is small)
I met his elder sister. (Sister who is older)
What are Predicative Adjectives
He is sad.
This apple is red.
My mother looks tired.
Our music teacher was very angry.
This area is dangerous.
As seen from the above examples, predicative adjectives always follow a verb, but this verb is not an action verb. Predicative adjectives always follow linking verbs.
Some adjectives only occur in the predicative position; they can never occur in the attributive position. Given below are some examples of non-attributive adjectives.
The house was ablaze.
She was alone.
He felt that something was amiss.
She was utterly bereft.
Difference Between Attributive and Predicative Adjectives
Attributive Adjectives precede the noun they modify.
Predicative Adjectives follow the noun they modify.
Attributive Adjectives can be used with both action and linking verbs.
Predicative Adjectives occur immediately after a linking verb.
Attributive Adjectives do not act as subject complements.
Predicative Adjectives can act as subject complements.