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Servicio al cliente (página 3)

Enviado por yenice rojas



Partes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11


A menudo las personas olvidan que lo que hacen es un medio de comunicación en la medida en que otros lo interpretan (consciente o inconscientemente).

Los directivos inteligentes estudian a conciencia aquellos con quienes tratan para familiarizarse con sus posturas, movimientos y gestos e intentar así determinar su significado.

Sabemos que el lenguaje corpóreo no es un reflejo perfecto de los pensamientos, actitudes y emociones; sin embargo, se pueden obtener importantes pistas.

Normalmente se descuidan dos puntos importantes referentes a la acción.

  • NO ACTUAR

Es una forma importante de comunicación. El gerente que no elogia al empleado por un trabajo bien hecho o que no proporciona los recursos prometidos está enviándole un mensaje. Puesto que enviamos mensajes mediante la acción o la falta de acción, en el trabajo nos comunicamos casi en todo momento sin importar nuestras intenciones.

  • 2. A LA LARGA, LA ACCIÓN ES MÁS ELOCUENTE QUE LAS PALABRAS.

Los gerentes y directores que dicen una cosa pero hacen otra muy pronto se darán cuenta de que sus subordinados "escuchan" sobre todo lo que hacen. Cuando hay discrepancias entre lo que alguien dice y lo que hace, a eso se llama brecha de credibilidad de comunicación.

Una parte importante de la comunicación no verbal, es el lenguaje corporal por medio del cual nos comunicamos con otros mediante el cuerpo en una interacción personal.

La cara y las manos son fuentes especialmente importantes del lenguaje corporal en las situaciones laborales. Ejemplo de ello son el contacto ocular, el movimiento de los ojos, las sonrisas y los ceños, el contacto físico y el fruncir la ceja.

Otros tipos de lenguaje corporal son la cercanía, el movimiento de caderas y la frecuencia de la respiración.

En cierta ocasión un administrador frunció la ceja cuando un empleado le hizo una sugerencia y éste interpretó el gesto como un rechazo, cuando en realidad el administrador tenía un dolor de cabeza.  En otra ocasión, una sonrisa en un momento inoportuno fue interpretada como un ademán despectivo y se produjo una discusión.

COGNICIÓN SOCIAL

Cuando algún desconocido se acerca a nosotros, ocurren los siguientes procesos y fenómenos que constituyen el área de estudio de la cognición social:

  • Nuestra reacción ante quien se acerca dependerá del reconocimiento de emociones que realicemos; es decir, del diagnóstico acerca de su estado de ánimo. Este diagnóstico se elabora a partir de la observación de su rostro y de otras señales no verbales.

  • De manera inevitable, nos formamos una impresión sobre ella, una imagen relativamente coherente, para la cual uniremos diversos elementos informativos que hemos podido ir recogiendo en esos primeros instantes de interacción: su aspectos físico, vestimenta, forma de hablar, atractivo, etc.

  • Realizaremos atribuciones causales, esto es, buscaremos una causa para explicar la conducta de dicha persona. Nuestros sentimientos, pensamientos y conductas respecto a tal persona estarán mediatizados por el tipo de causa a que atribuyamos su conducta.

  • Utilizaremos esquemas (conjuntos organizados de conocimientos) que nos ayudarán a procesar rápidamente la información que vamos recibiendo y a tomar una decisión los más adecuada posible.

  • Nuestra reacción estará mediatizada por los procesos de inferencia social, es decir, por la forma según la cual procesamos la información que estamos recibiendo, la almacenamos en nuestra memoria, la ponemos en relación con otra información de la que ya disponíamos, la recuperamos y la aplicamos al caso en cuestión.

De todas y cada una de estas partes depende nuestro éxito o fracaso al comunicarnos. Nuestro interlocutor va contrastando sus expectativas, nuestro despliegue informativo y el contexto concreto.

LA PRIMERA IMPRESIÓN

"Nunca se tiene una segunda oportunidad de dar una primera impresión"

Como ya hemos dicho anteriormente, es imposible no comunicarse. La primera impresión es un proceso de percepción de una persona por otra que transcurre en muy poco tiempo. Habitualmente no somos del todo conscientes ni de la emisión ni de la recepción de las informaciones que la configuran.

El tiempo en que fragua la primera impresión varía entre dos y cuatro minutos en el encuentro cara a cara, y escasos segundos en el telefónico. Abarca tres campos, con muy distinto peso en el conjunto final de la impresión:

A estos hay que añadir un cuarto: Cómo escucho, que completa el círculo de la comunicación.

Esos tres campos, tres canales, se perciben y analizan de un modo sucesivo, y el conjunto ha de ser coherente en su mensaje. La incoherencia entre canales causa distorsión o ruptura de la comunicación. Por el contrario, la armonía concentra la atención hacia las palabras y da confianza. Cuanta más congruencia haya entre lo que decimos y la forma en que lo decimos, más favorable será la primera impresión que causemos.

CUANTO MÁS SEPAMOS DE:

  • NOSOTROS,

Mayores serán nuestras probabilidades de transmitir de forma unívoca nuestra imagen.

  • LOS DEMÁS,

Con más exactitud podremos predecir las expectativas que ellos tienen respecto de nosotros, y mejor podremos conformar nuestras expresiones para que nos comprendan.

COMPONENTES DE LA PRIMERA IMPRESIÓN

  • QUÉ ASPECTO TENGO (lo que ven, comunicación visual)

  • Color de la piel, estrato social.

  • Sexo

  • Edad

  • Apariencia (biotipo, postura, pelo, vestido, accesorios, olores, colores)

  • Expresiones faciales

  • Contacto ocular

  • Movimientos

  • Espacio personal (corpulencia, altura, peso; posturas; distancias; objetos)

  • Tacto (piel, tejidos, posibles contactos)

  • CÓMO HABLO

La voz. En el caso del contacto telefónico se convierte en casi única fuente de información, con la que tratarán de cubrir las lagunas que aportaría lo visual, la teórica primera fase.

  • Rapidez

  • Volumen. Tono o Altura.

  • Calidad o Timbre

  • Articulación o dicción

  • QUÉ DIGO

  • Las palabras. Cómo enfoco los asuntos. Qué pienso y cómo lo expongo.

  • Lo negativo: términos de relleno, expresiones restrictivas, términos exclusivos

  • Lo positivo: estilo directo y afirmativo; no restrictivo, salvo que lo entendamos idóneo; sin disculpas ni evasivas; más simple en su sintaxis que por escrito, organizado; coloquial, conciso, animado; breve y puntual; incluso "participativo".

  • CÓMO ESCUCHO

  • No interrumpir (si nos interrumpen debemos hacernos respetar)

  • Dar señal de retorno, oímos y entendemos su mensaje

  • Utilizar los términos del interlocutor. Responderle.

  • Demostrar interés pidiendo aclaración a lo que oímos.

Como síntesis, nos interesa conocer los mecanismos de la primera impresión para utilizar eficazmente esa fuente de información. Saber todo lo que estamos "diciendo" a los demás, para que actúe en nuestro favor. Y conocer qué impactos recibimos, por qué reaccionamos de una manera determinada.

Todo ello sin forzar la realidad propia o ajena, con naturalidad expresiva y receptiva. Las "interpretaciones", en los dos sentidos de la palabra, sólo son buenas para los actores y para los obligados a juzgar.

  • LA NATURALIDAD

¿Posturas aprendidas o naturalidad? El desenfado y la informalidad. ¿Cómo llegar a la corrección natural?

Conocer el significado de los gestos nunca nos hará daño. Existe un lenguaje natural de hondas raíces antropológicas, con el que hablamos constantemente, aunque no esté controlado en el plano consciente.

Si la vista ha robado agudeza a los demás sentidos, sólo desarrollados en los que carecen de visión, en el terreno de la comunicación la palabra acorta la plena conciencia de otros códigos. Pero, aun de forma menos consciente, seguimos influyendo y afectándonos por el lenguaje de los gestos.

Toda actitud que pueda signifcar ataque o defensa debe desaparecer entre los que hablan y escuchan. El miedo impide la comunicación.

  • HABLAR DE PIE. LA VERTICALIDAD

Somos bípedos pero de un solo punto de apoyo. El otro sirve para guardar el equilibrio, para girar rápidos, para caminar. Nos sentimos tan a gusto, tan seguros sobre un pie, que exagerar la postura (arqueando el otro) resulta desafiante, petulante, "mal educado".

El eje único nos permite girar el tronco a unos y otros, inclinarnos levemente, cimbrearnos. Los brazos se mueven con soltura. Estar de pie supone una actitud de servicio, de disponibilidad propia del dinamismo del líder. El mantenerse agarrado a la mesa, al bolígrafo, al atril o al pie del micrófono denota necesidad de protección.

No es bueno ofrecer el perfil o la espalda mientras se habla. Dirigirse a nuestros interlocutores supone mirarles y dejarse mirar de frente. Girar hacia unos y otros, con suavidad, es normal. Estar torcidos, mirar de lado, se interpreta como rigidez timorata, reserva o amenaza.

El profesor o presentador que avanza en la sala para estar próximo a los más lejanos, termina dándoles la espalda a los de las primeras filas. Cambiar de posición en la clase, en puntos hacia los que todos puedan volverse, es un medio de equidistar de todos. Pero convendrá no dar continuos paseos que causan mareos o incomunicación.

El sentimiento de dominancia-dependencia está muy relacionado con la posición arriba-abajo. El que habla de pie asume cierto liderazgo. Su relación con los que escuchan sentados tiene otras connotaciones. La postura sedente se considera una ocupación más estabilizada del lugar: ellos son los señores y el que está de pie les sirve.

Para hablar en una sala grande a mucha gente se hace preciso hablar de pie. Te ven mejor, tienes una mayor amplitud expresiva y la respiración diafragmática se hace plena. Obsérvese que en el cine el encuadre más comunicativo es el de 3/4 o plano americano.

Las piernas no deben separarse mucho. Evitemos dar pasitos adelante y atrás (efecto de cierto nerviosismo) o el balanceo continuo que produce apoyarse alternativamente en una y otra pierna.

Cuando se habla desde un plano más elevado, se evitará levantar la barbilla. Es preferible una pequeña inclinación hacia adelante para que los rostros queden en paralelo.

  • HABLAR SENTADO. LAS MESAS

La mesa redonda, asientos de la misma altura, refuerza el sentido de igualdad. La falta de estrados en la sala de conferencias o el aula imprime un aire democrático y participativo.

Cuando hablamos en una reunión de trabajo de pocos asistentes parece obligado sentarse con ellos en un mismo plano. Hay que justificar el estar de pie por escribir en la pizarra o algo parecido.

Las mesas representan un obstáculo para la comunicación en cuanto son barrera y defensa para todos. Estar sentados en corro, sin mesas, produce un grato ambiente de amistad. Sin embargo, se hacen muchas veces necesarias para examinar papeles y tomar notas.

La mesa de una reunión de trabajo y la mesa del presentador deberán ser más bajas que las de despacho (o las sillas más altas). De esta manera dejan ver algo más que bustos parlantes. Los hombros y brazos pueden bajar, relajarse, sin que las manos desaparezcan bajo la mesa.

Al presentador, cuando pone y señala transparencias en el retroproyector, se le recomienda que esté sentado, de cara al grupo. Necesitará una mesa baja.

Cuando nos sentamos sobre la columna seguimos verticales, humanos y seguros. Damos la impresión de estar vivos, descansados, lúcidos, dispuestos a atender y trabajar. Recomendamos comenzar en posición cómoda (llenar el asiento) pero no Echados sobre la mesa ni sobre el respaldo: bien sentados en el asiento.

SISTEMAS DE COMUNICACIÓN NO VERBAL.

  • EL LENGUAJE ANIMAL.

Los animales se comunican mediante gruñidos, gritos, cantos, movimientos, colores, olores.

  • COMUNICACIÓN VISUAL.

Son los mensajes que percibimos por la vista: semáforos, señales de tráfico, un faro.

El lenguaje gestual que utilizamos al hablar pertenece a este tipo y es muy importante.

  • COMUNICACIÓN AUDITIVA.

Muchos gritos significan alegría, dolor, llamada... Las campanas, los timbres, el despertador pertenecen a este tipo de comunicación.

  • OTRAS FORMAS DE COMUNICACIÓN NO VERBAL.

  • Comunicación táctil (tacto).

  • Abrazos, besos, apretón de manos.

  • Comunicación gustativa.

  • Sabores de las comidas.

  • Comunicación olfativa.

  • Olor de la madre para el bebé, el perfume, el olor de la comida.

Normas de convivencia

Las normas de convivencia contribuyen al buen funcionamiento de las relaciones sociales y al bienestar común. Para introducir las normas en el funcionamiento del colegio es preciso que éstas sean asumidas, en primer lugar por los adultos (profesoras y padres) y estimular al niño a través de la labor diaria en un clima cálido, afectuoso y transmisor de seguridad emocional, para que llegue a la comprensión de que las normas son un bien común. De esta manera adquiere un alto valor educativo. El niño necesita saberse protegido por unos acuerdos que todos van a cumplir y al tiempo necesita saber con claridad hasta dónde puede llegar su libertad.

Es una pauta de convivencia; para que la sociedad pueda existir y sus integrantes puedan interactuar en armonía y tranquilidad. Hay normas complejas y con sanciones (transito), y otras más simples.

  • Características Son aprendibles y mutables, casi de forma inconsciente, observando a nuestro alrededor se asimilan. (obvio)

  • Se cambian y transforman según el tiempo y la situación que se vive.

  • Pueden estar por escrito o de forma consuetudinaria, leyes y reglamentos, con mayor peso; y las habladas son aprox. 60%.

  • Deben ser válidas. Se debe creer en quién la hizo, así tiene validez.

  • Deben ser eficaz respondiendo a las necesidades reales de las personas.

  • Pueden ser obligatorias y coercitivas, porque admiten sanciones y fuerza.

  • Sistemas Normativos a).- Normas Sociales: costumbres y tradiciones de una comunidad, lo cotidiano, su modo de vida. b).- Normas Religiosas: regulan el actuar y orientan la conciencia, buscan la santidad y salvación. Constituyen el nivel inicial de religiosidad. c).- Normas Morales: exigen a la persona conductas que reflejan la vivencia de valores, proponiendo ideales de vida buena. Pautas que nos orientan a actuar según ciertos principios, que gracias a la conciencia nos reprime si fallamos. Es de forma personal, regulan el comportamiento. d).- Normas Jurídicas: Regulan, garantizan y hacen posible la vida en un estado. Tienen carácter obligatorio, se utiliza la fuerza y las sanciones para garantizar su cumplimiento. Características: Son coercitivas (fuerza y sanciones) Son heterónomas, impuesta desde fuera (un organismo o alguien)

Son temporales, se pueden abolir, modificar o reemplazar.

SINOPSIS

Se reflexiona sobre el establecimiento de normas tanto sociales como familiares, así como la importancia de la conducta congruente de los padres; entre lo que dicen y lo que hacen; lo que le exigen al niño y su propio comportamiento moral.

en Cada sociedad tiene establecido su propio código de normas y reglas que la rigen a lo largo del tiempo, y aunque hay un proceso evolutivo dentro de esa sociedad, los cambios son relativamente lentos. Este código de normas es arbitrario y válido para esa sociedad, pero pueden no serlo para otra, la cual tendrá su propia moral, ya que una sociedad no puede subsistir sin la existencia de algunas reglas mínimas que ayuden a los seres humanos a convivir.

Además de las normas sociales, hacia el interior de la familia se perfilan sus propios patrones morales. De ahí se desprende que cada niño y cada niña se desarrollan dentro de un contexto social y familiar que les impone a lo largo de sus vidas una normatividad a la cual deberán adaptarse.

La micro sociedad que representa la familia, tiene su propio sentido de lo que es bueno y lo que es malo, y esto va desde cosas tan evidentes como el tipo de alimentación, hasta sutilezas pocas veces mencionadas como la diferencia entre dejar las puertas de las habitaciones abiertas o cerradas, determinando con ello patrones de comportamiento sui géneris en cada grupo familiar.

Con ello el niño aprende de la convivencia y sabe hasta dónde puede llegar. Éste es un aprendizaje que se da desde el inicio de la vida, cuando se establecen las pautas de comunicación entre la madre y el hijo, y se va enriqueciendo con los otros miembros de la familia que marcan al pequeño con su propia idiosincrasia y filosofía de vida.

Así el niño queda dotado íntimamente con las reglas de una moral establecida; de lo que son conductas buenas y malas hacia los seres de su propio grupo, pero que pueden ser una fuente de prejuicios para tratar a personas de otras culturas.

La moral del niño es moldeada desde su nacimiento, cultural y familiarmente, y está en la raíz de su vida afectiva.

Cada niño y niña reciben normas sociales que pueden agruparse en 3 grandes bloques:

  • LAS NORMAS CONVENCIONALES,

Son las que determinan la convivencia social como la forma de vestir, el saludo, el cuidado de los niños, costumbres hacia la crianza y la educación de éstos, situación que en ocasiones puede provocar alegatos y discusiones entre los padres provenientes de ambientes diferentes, e incluso dentro de algunos miembros de la misma familia, por ejemplo hay casos en los cuales dos hermanos con experiencias de vida diferentes educan de formas distintas a sus hijos.

  • LAS NORMAS MORALES,

Son las que se refieren a los aspectos de relación, como el respeto por la integridad del otro, la justicia y el respeto a los derechos humanos. Son normas que, junto con las convencionales, los individuos comparten aunque no estén escritas explícitamente, sino que se van adquiriendo a lo largo de la vida.

  • LAS NORMAS JURÍDICAS,

Son las que están codificadas explícitamente y provienen del poder político, y cuya violación implica una sanción o castigo.

Los límites entre estos tres tipos de normas son borrosos; en realidad son variables, algunas sociedades son más estrictas y otras más laxas, tolerantes y abiertas.

Un aspecto importante del desarrollo moral del niño, es que poco a poco y a lo largo de su formación él debe establecer una distinción entre la conducta y el conocimiento moral. Esta diferencia se deriva de la congruencia de los padres respecto a su propio desenvolvimiento moral; esto es si hay diferencia entre lo que hacen y lo que enseñan, así como en lo que conscientemente exigen del pequeño y el comportamiento moral que exhiben.

Los padres no debemos olvidar que los hijos aprenden más de lo que hacemos que de lo que decimos.

Function

WHAT IS A NOUN?

A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. Nouns are usually the first words which small children learn. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all nouns:

  • Late last year our neighbors bought a goat.

  • Portia White was an opera singer.

  • The bus inspector looked at all the passengers' passes.

  • According to Plutarch, the library at Alexandria was destroyed in 48 B.C.

  • Philosophy is of little comfort to the starving.

A noun can function in a sentence as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, a subject complement, an object complement, an appositive, an adjective or an adverb.

NOUN GENDER

Many common nouns, like "engineer" or "teacher," can refer to men or women. Once, many English nouns would change form depending on their gender -- for example, a man was called an "author" while a woman was called an "authoress" -- but this use of gender-specific nouns is very rare today. Those that are still used occasionally tend to refer to occupational categories, as in the following sentences.

  • David Garrick was a very prominent eighteenth-century actor.

  • Sarah Siddons was at the height of her career as an actress in the 1780s.

  • The manager was trying to write a want ad, but he couldn't decide whether he was advertising for a "waiter" or a "waitress"

NOUN PLURALS

Most nouns change their form to indicate number by adding "-s" or "-es", as illustrated in the following pairs of sentences:

When Matthew was small he rarely told the truth if he thought he was going to be punished.

  • Many people do not believe that truths are self-evident.

  • As they walked through the silent house. they were startled by an unexpected echo.

  • I like to shout into the quarry and listen to the echoes that returned.

  • He tripped over a box left carelessly in the hallway.

  • Since we are moving, we will need many boxes.

There are other nouns which form the plural by changing the last letter before adding "s". Some words ending in "f" form the plural by deleting "f" and adding "ves," and words ending in "y" form the plural by deleting the "y" and adding "ies," as in the following pairs of sentences:

  • The harbour at Marble Mountain has one wharf.

  • There are several wharves in Halifax Harbour.

  • Warsaw is their favourite city because it reminds them of their courtship.

  • The vacation my grandparents won includes trips to twelve European cities.

  • The children circled around the headmaster and shouted, "Are you a mouse or a man?"

The audience was shocked when all five men admitted that they were afraid of mice.

Other nouns form the plural irregularly. If English is your first language, you probably know most of these already: when in doubt, consult a good dictionary.

POSSESSIVE NOUNS

In the possessive case, a noun or pronoun changes its form to show that it owns or is closely related to something else. Usually, nouns become possessive by adding a combination of an apostrophe and the letter "s."

You can form the possessive case of a singular noun that does not end in "s" by adding an apostrophe and "s," as in the following sentences:

  • The red suitcase is Cassandra's.

  • The only luggage that was lost was the prime minister's.

  • The exhausted recruits were woken before dawn by the drill sergeant's screams.

  • The miner's face was covered in coal dust.

You can form the possessive case of a singular noun that ends in "s" by adding an apostrophe alone or by adding an apostrophe and "s," as in the following examples:

  • The bus's seats are very uncomfortable.

  • The bus' seats are very uncomfortable.

  • The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus's eggs.

  • The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus' eggs.

  • Felicia Hemans's poetry was once more popular than Lord Byron's.

  • Felicia Hemans' poetry was once more popular than Lord Byron's.

You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does not end in "s" by adding an apostrophe and a "s," as in the following examples:

  • The children's mittens were scattered on the floor of the porch.

  • The sheep's pen was mucked out every day.

  • Since we have a complex appeal process, a jury's verdict is not always final.

  • The men's hockey team will be playing as soon as the women's team is finished.

  • The hunter followed the moose's trail all morning but lost it in the afternoon.

You can form the possessive case of a plural noun that does end in "s" by adding an apostrophe:

  • The concert was interrupted by the dogs' barking, the ducks' quacking, and the babies' squalling.

  • The janitors' room is downstairs and to the left.

  • My uncle spent many hours trying to locate the squirrels' nest.

  • The archivist quickly finished repairing the diaries' bindings.

  • Religion is usually the subject of the roommates' many late night debates.

USING POSSESSIVE NOUNS

When you read the following sentences, you will notice that a noun in the possessive case frequently functions as an adjective modifying another noun:

  • The miner's face was covered in coal dust.

Here the possessive noun "miner's" is used to modify the noun "face" and together with the article "the," they make up the noun phrase that is the sentence's subject.

  • The concert was interrupted by the dogs' barking, the ducks' quacking, and the babies' squalling.

In this sentence, each possessive noun modifies a gerund. The possessive noun "dogs"' modifies "barking," "ducks"' modifies "quacking," and "babies"' modifies "squalling."

  • The film crew accidentally crushed the platypus's eggs.

In this example the possessive noun "platypus's" modifies the noun "eggs" and the noun phrase "the platypus's eggs" is the direct object of the verb "crushed."

  • My uncle spent many hours trying to locate the squirrels' nest.

In this sentence the possessive noun "squirrels"' is used to modify the noun "nest" and the noun phrase "the squirrels' nest" is the object of the infinitive phrase "to locate."

TYPES OF NOUNS

There are many different types of nouns. As you know, you capitalise some nouns, such as "Canada" or "Louise," and do not capitalise others, such as "badger" or "tree" (unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence). In fact, grammarians have developed a whole series of noun types, including the proper noun, the common noun, the concrete noun, the abstract noun, the countable noun (also called the count noun), the non-countable noun (also called the mass noun), and the collective noun. You should note that a noun will belong to more than one type: it will be proper or common, abstract or concrete, and countable or non-countable or collective.

If you are interested in the details of these different types, you can read about them in the following sections.

PROPER NOUNS

You always write a proper noun with a capital letter, since the noun represents the name of a specific person, place, or thing. The names of days of the week, months, historical documents, institutions, organisations, religions, their holy texts and their adherents are proper nouns. A proper noun is the opposite of a common noun

  • In each of the following sentences, the proper nouns are highlighted:

  • The Marroons were transported from Jamaica and forced to build the fortifications in Halifax.

  • Many people dread Monday mornings.

  • Beltane is celebrated on the first of May.

  • Abraham appears in the Talmud and in the Koran.

  • Last year, I had a Baptist, a Buddhist, and a Gardnerian Witch as roommates.

COMMON NOUNS

A common noun is a noun referring to a person, place, or thing in a general sense -- usually, you should write it with a capital letter only when it begins a sentence. A common noun is the opposite of a proper noun.

In each of the following sentences, the common nouns are highlighted:

  • According to the sign, the nearest town is 60 miles away.

  • All the gardens in the neighborhood were invaded by beetles this summer.

  • I don't understand why some people insist on having six different kinds of mustard in their cupboards.

  • The road crew was startled by the sight of three large moose crossing the road.

  • Many child-care workers are underpaid.

Sometimes you will make proper nouns out of common nouns, as in the following examples:

  • The tenants in the Garnet Apartments are appealing the large and sudden increase in their rent.

  • The meals in the Bouncing Bean Restaurant are less expensive than meals in ordinary restaurants.

  • Many witches refer to the Renaissance as the Burning Times.

  • The Diary of Anne Frank is often a child's first introduction to the history of the Holocaust.

CONCRETE NOUNS

A concrete noun is a noun which names anything (or anyone) that you can perceive through your physical senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, or smell. A concrete noun is the opposite of a abstract noun.

The highlighted words in the following sentences are all concrete nouns:

  • The judge handed the files to the clerk.

  • Whenever they take the dog to the beach, it spends hours chasing waves.

  • The real estate agent urged the couple to buy the second house because it had new shingles.

  • As the car drove past the park, the thump of a disco tune overwhelmed the string quartet's rendition of a minuet.

  • The book binder replaced the flimsy paper cover with a sturdy, cloth-covered board.

ABSTRACT NOUNS

An abstract noun is a noun which names anything which you can not perceive through your five physical senses, and is the opposite of a concrete noun. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all abstract nouns:

  • Buying the fire extinguisher was an afterthought.

  • Tillie is amused by people who are nostalgic about childhood.

  • Justice often seems to slip out of our grasp.

  • Some scientists believe that schizophrenia is transmitted genetically.

COUNTABLE NOUNS

A countable noun (or count noun) is a noun with both a singular and a plural form, and it names anything (or anyone) that you can count. You can make a countable noun plural and attach it to a plural verb in a sentence. Countable nouns are the opposite of non-countable nouns and collective nouns.

In each of the following sentences, the highlighted words are countable nouns:

  • We painted the table red and the chairs blue.

  • Since he inherited his aunt's library, Jerome spends every weekend indexing his books.

  • Miriam found six silver dollars in the toe of a sock.

  • The oak tree lost three branches in the hurricane.

  • Over the course of twenty-seven years, Martha Ballad delivered just over eight hundred babies.

NON-COUNTABLE NOUNS

A non-countable noun (or mass noun) is a noun which does not have a plural form, and which refers to something that you could (or would) not usually count. A non-countable noun always takes a singular verb in a sentence. Non-countable nouns are similar to collective nouns, and are the opposite of countable nouns.

The highlighted words in the following sentences are non-countable nouns:

  • Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen.

The word "oxygen" cannot normally be made plural.

  • Oxygen is essential to human life.

Since "oxygen" is a non-countable noun, it takes the singular verb "is" rather than the plural verb "are."

  • We decided to sell the furniture rather than take it with use when we moved.

You cannot make the noun "furniture" plural.

  • The furniture is heaped in the middle of the room.

Since "furniture" is a non-countable noun, it takes a singular verb, "is heaped."

  • The crew spread the gravel over the roadbed.

You cannot make the non-countable noun "gravel" plural.

  • Gravel is more expensive than I thought.

Since "gravel" is a non-countable noun, it takes the singular verb form "is."

COLLECTIVE NOUNS

A collective noun is a noun naming a group of things, animals, or persons. You could count the individual members of the group, but you usually think of the group as a whole is generally as one unit. You need to be able to recognise collective nouns in order to maintain subject-verb agreement. A collective noun is similar to a non-countable noun, and is roughly the opposite of a countable noun.

In each of the following sentences, the highlighted word is a collective noun:

  • The flock of geese spends most of its time in the pasture.

The collective noun "geese" takes the singular verb "spends."

  • The jury is dining on take-out chicken tonight.

In this example the collective noun "jury" is the subject of the singular compound verb "is dining."

  • The steering committee meets every Wednesday afternoon.

Here the collective noun "committee" takes a singular verb, "meets."

  • The class was startled by the bursting light bulb.

In this sentence the word "class" is a collective noun and takes the singular compound verb "was startled

Adjetives

Adjectives are words that describe or modify another person or thing in the sentence. The articules — a, an, and the — are adjectives.

  • the tall profesor

  • the lugubrious lieutenant

  • a solid commitment

  • a month's pay

  • a six-year-old child

  • the unhappiest, richest man

If a group of words containing a subject and verb acts as an adjective, it is called an Adjective Clause. My sister, who is much older than I am, is an engineer. If an adjective clause is stripped of its subject and verb, the resulting modifier becomes an Adjective Phrase: He is the man who is keeping my family in the poorhouse.

Before getting into other usage considerations, one general note about the use — or over-use — of adjectives: Adjectives are frail; don't ask them to do more work than they should. Let your broad-shouldered verbs and nouns do the hard work of description. Be particularly cautious in your use of adjectives that don't have much to say in the first place: interesting, beautiful, lovely, exciting. It is your job as a writer to create beauty and excitement and interest, and when you simply insist on its presence without showing it to your reader — well, you're convincing no one.

Consider the uses of modifiers in this adjectivally rich paragraph Adjectives are highlighted in this color; participles, verb forms acting as adjectives, are highlighted in this blue. Some people would argue that words that are part of a name — like "East India Tea House — are not really adjectival and that possessive nouns — father's, farmer's — are not technically adjectives, but we've included them in our analysis of Wolfe's text.

He remembered yet the East India Tea House at the Fair, the sandalwood, the turbans, and the robes, the cool interior and the smell of India tea; and he had felt now the nostalgic thrill of dew-wet mornings in Spring, the cherry scent, the cool clarion earth, the wet loaminess of the garden, the pungent breakfast smells and the floating snow of blossoms. He knew the inchoate sharp excitement of hot dandelions in young earth; in July, of watermelons bedded in sweet hay, inside a farmer's covered wagon; of cantaloupe and crated peaches; and the scent of orange rind, bitter-sweet, before a fire of coals. He knew the good male smell of his father's sitting-room; of the smooth worn leather sofa, with the gaping horse-hair rent; of the blistered varnished wood upon the hearth; of the heated calf-skin bindings; of the flat moist plug of apple tobacco, stuck with a red flag; of wood-smoke and burnt leaves in October; of the brown tired autumn earth; of honey-suckle at night; of warm nasturtiums, of a clean ruddy farmer who comes weekly with printed butter, eggs, and milk; of fat limp underdone bacon and of coffee; of a bakery-oven in the wind; of large deep-hued stringbeans smoking-hot and seasoned well with salt and butter; of a room of old pine boards in which books and carpets have been stored, long closed; of Concord grapes in their long white baskets.

An abundance of adjectives like this would be uncommon in contemporary prose. Whether we have lost something or not is left up to you.

POSITION OF ADJECTIVES

Unlike Adverbs, which often seem capable of popping up almost anywhere in a sentence, adjectives nearly always appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify. Sometimes they appear in a string of adjectives, and when they do, they appear in a set order according to category. (See Below.) When indefinite pronouns — such as something, someone, and anybody— are modified by an adjective, the adjective comes after the pronoun:

Anyone capable of doing something horrible to someone nice should be punished.Something wicked this way comes.

And there are certain adjectives that, in combination with certain words, are always "postpositive" (coming after the thing they modify):

The president elect, heir apparent to the Glitzy fortune, lives in New York proper.

PROPER ADJECTIVES

Proper adjectives are adjectives derived from proper nouns. In English, proper adjectives must begin with a capital letter. The proper adjectives in the following sentences are underlined.

  • E.g. The French town has an interesting history.

  • Many of my friends are American.

  • This house is a fine example of Victorian architecture.

The derivation of proper adjectives from proper nouns is somewhat irregular. For instance, the spelling of the following proper nouns and proper adjectives can be compared.

Many proper adjectives end with an or ian. However, other endings are also used, as indicated below.

ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

Adjectives which precede the noun they modify are usually referred to as attributive adjectives. For instance, in the following examples, the attributive adjectives are underlined.

e.g. Heavy rain is expected.We saw white swans on the river.

In these examples, heavy is an attributive adjective modifying the noun rain, and white is an attributive adjective modifying the noun swans.

A. ORDER OF ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

It is possible for a noun to be preceded by many different types of attributive adjective. In the following example, the attributive adjectives are underlined

e.g. Two large red cardboard milk cartons stood on the steps.

In this example, two is a cardinal number, large is an adjective indicating size, red is an adjective indicating color, cardboard is an adjective indicating a type of material, and milk

is a defining adjective indicating purpose.

When a noun is preceded by more than one type of attributive adjective, the different types of adjective are usually arranged in a particular order. For instance, the following example contains eleven different types of attributive adjective.e.g. a small, heavy, snug, warm, 100-year-old, round-bellied black iron Norwegian wood stoveIn this example, a is an article, small is an adjective indicating size, heavy is an adjective indicating weight, snug is a general descriptive adjective, warm is an adjective indicating temperature, 100-year-old is an adjective indicating age, round-bellied is an adjective indicating shape, black is an adjective indicating color, iron is an adjective indicating a type of material, Norwegian is a proper adjective, and wood is a defining adjective indicating a method of operation.The different types of attributive adjective are usually arranged In the order shown in the following table.

USUAL ORDER OF ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

1) certain determiners such as all, both and half2) determiners including the articles a, and and the; possessive adjectives e.g. my, his, her, our and their;demonstrative adjectives e.g. that, these, this, and those; and certain other determiners such as another, any, each, either, enough, every, neither, no, some, what and which3) cardinal numbers e.g. one, two, three; and certain other determiners such as few, many and several4) determiners such as fewer, fewest, least, less, more and most5) general descriptive adjectives, often in the following order:a) adjectives indicating size e.g. large, long, narrowb) adjectives indicating weight e.g. heavy, lightc) participles and other adjectives e.g. clever, excited, interestingd) adjectives indicating temperature e.g. cold, hot, warme) adjectives indicating humidity e.g. dry, damp, wetf) adjectives indicating age e.g. new, six-month-old, youngg) adjectives indicating shape e.g. barrel-shaped, round, square6) adjectives indicating color e.g. blue, grey, white7) adjectives indicating materials e.g. cloth, leather, metal8) proper adjectives e.g. American, Victorian9) defining adjectives, usually indicating purpose, method of operation, location,      time or categories of peopleI. DETERMINERS

The usual order of different types of determiner is indicated in the first four categories of the table above.

1) The determiners in the first category, all, both and half, usually precede other attributive adjectives.

  • e.g. all three tables

  • both the students

  • half the red roses

Alternatively, before the article the, the words all, both and half may be used as pronouns, followed by the word of

  • .e.g. all of the tables

  • both of the students

  • half of the red roses

2) The determiners in the second category of the table above include articles, possessive adjectives, demonstrative adjectives, and the determiners another, any, each, either, enough, every, neither, no, some, what and which. A noun can usually be modified by only one of the attributive adjectives in this category.

If it is desired to convey the idea expressed by a possessive adjective combined with another adjective in this category, the possessive adjective must be changed to the corresponding possessive pronoun preceded by of, and must follow the noun.

For instance, the ideas expressed by the phrase this black horse, combined with the possessive adjective my; and the phrase a book combined with the possessive adjective your may be conveyed as follows:

  • e.g. this black horse of mine

  • book of yours

In a somewhat similar way, the determiners another, any, each, either, enough, neither, some and which may be combined with other members of the second category of adjective by being used as pronouns followed by of.

For instance, the ideas expressed by the phrase my dresses, combined with the determiner any; and the phrase these white flowers, combined with the determiner either may be conveyed as follows:

e.g. any of my dresses

either of these white flowers

Since the determiners every and no cannot be used as pronouns, the expressions every one and none must be used. For instance, the ideas expressed in the phrase these children, combined with the determiner every; and the phrase their opinions, combined with the determiner no may be conveyed as follows:

  • e.g. every one of these children

  • none of their opinion

3) The determiners in the third category of the table above include the cardinal numbers, and the determiners few, many and several. As illustrated in the following examples, the determiners in this category usually follow determiners in the previous two categories, and precede other attributive adjectives.

  • e.g. all twelve red roses

  • their many exciting adventures

It should be noted that other usually precedes a cardinal number when an article or possessive adjective is present, but usually follows a cardinal number when no article or possessive adjective is present.

  • e.g. the other three chairs

  • my other two cousins

  • three other chairs

  • two other cousins

In the first two examples, the article the and the possessive article my are present, and other precedes the cardinal numbers three and two. In the second two examples, no article or possessive adjective is present, and other follows the cardinal numbers three and two.4) The determiners fewer, fewest, least, less, more and most usually follow other determiners.

  • e.g. the fewest mistakes

  • two more children

In the first example, fewest follows the determiner the. In the second example, more follows the determiner two.

II. GENERAL DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVES

As indicated in the preceding table, general descriptive adjectives usually follow determiners and precede other types of attributive adjective. As shown in the table, there are several types of general descriptive adjective, which often occur in a certain order. However, the order of different types of general descriptive adjective is more flexible than the order of other types of attributive adjective.

a) Attributive adjectives indicating size usually follow any determiners, but precede other types of attributive adjective. In the following phrases, the adjectives indicating size are underlined.

  • e.g. three large, level platforms

  • her two tiny brown lap dogs

  • that enormous English dictionary

Below are pairs of adjectives with opposite meanings, indicating size:

b) Adjectives indicating weight usually follow adjectives indicating size, but precede other types of attributive adjective. In the following phrases, the adjectives indicating weight are underlined.

  • e.g. a small, heavy parcel

  • two light nylon knapsacks

The following are examples of adjectives indicating weight:

  • heavy

  • light

  • kilogram

  • ton

c) Participles and other general descriptive adjectives which do not fall into any of the other categories usually follow adjectives indicating size and weight, and precede other types of attributive adjective. In the following examples, the adjective alert, and the participles twittering and excited are underlined.

  • e.g. two large, alert black cats

  • eleven tiny, twittering birds

  • many excited children

d) to g) The order of adjectives indicating temperature, humidity, age and shape is not as predictable as the order of other attributive adjectives. For instance, adjectives indicating temperature occur sometimes before and sometimes after general descriptive adjectives such as clear and hard.

  • e.g. clear, cold water

  • cold, hard ice

It should be noted that the position of attributive adjectives indicating age may be altered to change the emphasis.

  • e.g. a new, efficient method

  • an efficient, new method

In the first example, the adjective new is emphasized. In the second example, the adjective efficient is emphasized.

However, the most usual order of adjectives indicating temperature, humidity, age and shape is that indicated in the table. For instance, adjectives indicating temperature usually precede adjectives indicating humidity

  • .e.g. a hot, dry wind

  • a cold, wet dog

In these examples, the adjectives hot and cold, indicating temperature, precede the adjectives dry and wet, indicating humidity.

As can be seen in the preceding examples, general descriptive adjectives are usually separated from one another by commas. This is illustrated In the following examples, in which the general descriptive adjectives are underlined

  • e.g. a small, triangular wooden boat

  • those five thick, strong, two-hundred-year-old oak trees

Below are examples of adjectives which indicate temperature, humidity, age and shape.

Temperature

Humidity

Age

Shape

  hot

  wet

  new

  square

  cold

  dry

  old

  round

  warm

  damp

  young

  triangular

  cool

  humid

  six-week-old

  octagonal

 

  moist

  two-year-old

  spherical

III. ADJECTIVES INDICATING COLOR

Adjectives indicating color usually precede adjectives indicating materials, proper adjectives, and defining adjectives, but follow other types of attributive adjective.

In the following examples, the adjectives indicating color are underlined

  • .e.g. threatening black clouds

  • her new red leather jacket

  • a square brown mahogany table

Below are examples of adjectives which indicate color:

  red

  black

  pink

  orange

  white

  magenta

  yellow

  brown

  scarlet

  green

  beige

  crimson

  blue

  silver

  fox-red

  violet

  golden

  olive-green

  purple

  turquoise

  sky-blue, etc.

IV. ADJECTIVES INDICATING MATERIALSAttributive adjectives indicating the materials from which objects are made usually follow any adjectives indicating color and precede any proper or defining adjectives. In the following examples, adjectives indicating materials are underlined

  • e.g. a beautiful grey silk scarf

  • ten black plastic coat hangers

  • the clean wooden floor

In modern English, most adjectives indicating the materials from which objects are made have the same form as the corresponding nouns. For Instance, the words silk and plastic can be used either as nouns or as adjectives. One of the few exceptions is the adjective wooden, which corresponds to the noun wood.Below are examples of adjectives which indicate materials:

  wooden

  cotton

  metal

  paper

  wool

  iron

  cardboard

  silk

  steel

  plastic

  satin

  brass

  rock

  corduroy

  gold

  stone

  velvet

  silver

  brick

  flannel

  copper

  concrete

  denim

  lead

  glass

  nylon

  tin

  leather

  polyester

  aluminum

V. THE POSITION OF PROPER ADJECTIVESProper adjectives usually follow all other types of attributive adjective except defining adjectives.

Proper adjectives are usually derived from proper nouns referring to places or persons. In the following examples, the proper adjectives are underlined

  • e.g. sparkling French wine

  • three red brick Georgian manor houses

In the first example, the proper adjective French is derived from the place name France, and indicates the place of origin of the wine. In the second example, the proper adjective Georgian is derived from George, the name of an English king, and indicates that the houses are built in a style developed during the reign of that king.

It should be noted that proper adjectives may sometimes precede adjectives indicating materials, as in the following examples. This occurs when the adjective indicating a material is used as a type of defining adjective, to help identify what type of object is being described.e.g. Mexican straw hatsan American pearl necklaceVI. DEFINING ADJECTIVESWhen a word preceding a noun does not merely describe the object being referred to, but helps to define or identify the type of object meant, the word preceding the noun can be called a defining adjective. The defining adjectives in the following examples are underlined.

  • e.g. an enjoyable birthday party

  • a fine young man

  • the new telephone directory

Defining adjectives are combined with nouns to form fixed expressions, in order to refer to certain types of things. In the above examples, birthday party, young man and telephone directory are fixed expressions which are commonly used to refer to certain types of things.In many such expressions, the defining adjectives are words which are usually used as nouns. For instance, in the above examples, birthday, and telephone are words which are usually used as nouns. In such cases, the fixed expressions are sometimes thought of as compound nouns.

Many words which are used as gerunds can also be used as defining adjectives, as illustrated in the following examples.

  • e.g. black hiking boots

  • our drinking water

In this type of fixed expression, it is also possible for two words to be used together as defining adjectives. In the following examples, the words used as defining adjectives are underlined.

  • e.g. a roller skating rink

  • a hot water bottle

Defining adjectives usually immediately precede the nouns they modify. Many defining adjectives indicate the purpose for which the object being referred to is used. In the following examples, the defining adjectives are underlined

  • e.g. an egg carton

  • a coat hanger

  • a dish cloth

An egg carton is a carton used for storing eggs, a coat hanger is an object used for hanging up coats, and a dish cloth is a cloth used for washing dishes.As can be seen in these examples, when a word usually used as a countable noun is used as a defining adjective, it is normally the singular form of the word which is used. Thus, in the preceding examples, the singular forms egg, coat and dish are used.Defining adjectives can also indicate the method of operation of an object. This is the case in the following examples.

  • e.g. a steam iron

  • a ten-speed bicycle

  • an electric light

Defining adjectives sometimes help to define the object being referred to by indicating time or location

e.g. the morning star

the winter term

the front door

the kitchen window

In these examples the adjectives morning and winter indicate time, and the adjectives front and kitchen indicate location.

Defining adjectives are also used in fixed expressions which refer to certain categories of people.

  • e.g. a little girl

  • a baby boy

  • an old woman

VII. ORDINAL ADJECTIVES

Attributive adjectives such as next, last, first, second, third and so on, are sometimes referred to as ordinal adjectives, since they indicate the order in which things occur.

When they are not followed by commas, ordinal adjectives have the property of modifying any following attributive adjectives together with the accompanying noun. For this reason, the position of an ordinal adjective relative to other attributive adjectives can affect the meaning of a phrase.

  • e.g. the first reluctant witness

  • the reluctant first witness

The two preceding examples have different meanings. In the phrase the first reluctant witness, the adjective first modifies the following adjective reluctant together with the noun witness. This means that although there may have been previous witnesses, the phrase refers to the first witness who was reluctant

However, in the phrase the reluctant first witness, the adjective first modifies only the noun witness. This means that there were no previous witnesses. The phrase refers to the first witness, indicating that this witness was reluctant.

Below is a similar example, giving two phrases with different meanings

  • e.g. the second unpredictable year

  • the unpredictable second year

In the phrase the second unpredictable year, the adjective second modifies the following adjective unpredictable together with the noun year. This means that although there may have been more than one previous year, the phrase refers to the second year which was unpredictable.However, in the phrase the unpredictable second year, the adjective second modifies only the noun year. This means that there was only one previous year. The phrase refers to the second year, indicating that this year was unpredictable.As illustrated in the preceding examples, the position of ordinal attributive adjectives varies depending upon what meaning is to be conveyed.B. PUNCTUATION USED WITH ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

As already indicated, general descriptive adjectives, including adjectives indicating size, weight, temperature, humidity, age and shape are usually separated from one another by commas.

  • e.g. the long, winding road

  • a heavy, awkward box

  • a cold, wet mist

  • a small, square room

In contrast, determiners, possessive adjectives, adjectives representing cardinal numbers, and ordinal adjectives are usually not followed by commas. In the following examples, adjectives of these types are underlined

  • .e.g. those large chairs

  • my new shirts

  • two narrow paths

  • the first tall building

In addition, defining adjectives, proper adjectives, and adjectives indicating color and materials are usually not preceded by commas. In the following examples, adjectives of these types are underlined

  • e.g. a large egg carton

  • a beautiful Chinese vase

  • elegant black boots

  • a dilapidated stone building

However, it should be noted that in some cases, proper adjectives and adjectives indicating shape, color and materials may or may not be preceded by commas. In the following examples, adjectives of these types are underlined.e.g. a beautiful Japanese necklace or a beautiful, Japanese necklacea small square tower or a small, square tower

  • a thin grey cat or a thin, grey cat

  • a black leather briefcase or a black, leather briefcase

When such adjectives are not preceded by commas, there is an implication that the adjectives are used to help identify the object being described. However, when such adjectives are preceded by commas, there is an implication that the adjectives are provided only for purposes of description, and are not being used to help identify the object being described.For example, in the phrase a small square tower, there is the implication that the shape of the tower helps to identify which tower is meant. However, in the phrase a small, square tower there is the implication that the adjective square is provided only for purposes of description, and is not being used to help identify which tower is meant.

There is also a distinction in meaning associated with the presence or absence of commas following ordinal adjectives. When followed by commas, ordinal adjectives function similarly to general descriptive adjectives, and modify only the accompanying noun.

  • e.g. the last, lonely outpost

  • the first, faint morning light

In the first example, the adjective last modifies the noun outpost. In the second example, the adjective first modifies the noun light.

However, as explained in the section on ordinal adjectives, when they are not followed by commas, ordinal adjectives have the property of modifying any following attributive adjectives together with the accompanying noun.

C. STRESS USED WITH ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

In speaking, nouns are usually pronounced with more stress than the preceding attributive adjectives. In the following examples, the words which are pronounced with the heaviest stress are underlined.

  • e.g. a small, green cucumber

  • an old, rectangular courtyard

In these examples, the nouns cucumber and courtyard are pronounced with slightly more emphasis than the preceding adjectives.

I. ADJECTIVES INDICATING MATERIALS

However, there are several exceptions to the rule that the noun has the most emphasis. For instance, when a noun is immediately preceded by an adjective naming a material, the adjective is usually pronounced with the same degree of emphasis as the noun.

  • e.g. a leather belt

  • a silver spoon

In these examples, the adjectives leather and silver are pronounced with the same degree of emphasis as the nouns belt and spoon.

II. DEFINING ADJECTIVES INDICATING LOCATION OR TIME

Also, when a noun is preceded by a defining adjective indicating location or time, the adjective is usually pronounced with the same degree of emphasis as the noun.

  • e.g. the front door

  • the fall term

In these examples, the defining adjectives front, indicating location, and fall, indicating time, are pronounced with the same degree of emphasis as the nouns door and term.

III. DEFINING ADJECTIVES INDICATING PURPOSE

However, when a defining adjective indicates the purpose of the object being described, the defining adjective usually has a strong emphasis, while the noun which follows it has a weak emphasis.

  • e.g. brown hiking boots

  • a red milk carton

In these examples, the defining adjectives hiking and milk receive a stronger emphasis than either the succeeding nouns boots and carton, or the preceding attributive adjectives.

 3. PREDICATE ADJECTIVES

A. ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES WHICH CAN BE USED AS PREDICATE ADJECTIVES

An adjective which is separated from the noun or pronoun it modifies by a verb is often referred to as a predicate adjective. The predicate adjectives in the following examples are underlined.

  • e.g. The horse is black.

  • The streets are long and narrow.

  • It is large, heavy and awkward.

In these examples, the adjective black modifies the noun horse. the adjectives long and narrow modify the noun streets, and the adjectives large, heavy and awkward modify the pronoun it.

Most general descriptive adjectives, as well as adjectives indicating color, can be used as predicate adjectives. In the following examples, the predicate adjectives are underlined.

  • e.g. The answer is puzzling.

  • These envelopes are small.

  • The bucket was heavy.

  • The weather will be cool and dry.

  • That child is young.

  • The cake is round.

  • The leaves are red, yellow and orange.

However, there are a few general descriptive adjectives which cannot be used as predicate adjectives. For example, the adjectives listed below are normally used only as attributive adjectives.

ADJECTIVES USED ONLY ATTRIBUTIVELY

  • chief

  • main

  • principal

  • sheer

  • utter

It should be noted that although they cannot be used with attributive adjectives, pronouns can be used with predicate adjectives.

  • e.g. He is happy.

  • She is proud

  • .We are care

  • They are successful.

Proper adjectives are sometimes used as predicate adjectives.

  • e.g. That car is American

  • .This one is Japanese

It should be noted that hyphenated adjectives containing nouns often cannot be used as predicate adjectives. When such an expression follows the verb, the hyphens are omitted and the noun assumes a plural form, if required. In the following examples, the nouns contained in the hyphenated adjectives are underlined.

  • e.g. the two-year-old child

  • the one-hour program

  • forty-dollar shoes

When placed after the verb, the hyphenated adjectives must be changed as follows:

  • e.g. The child is two years old.

  • The length of the program is one hour.

  • The price of the shoes is forty dollars

.However, hyphenated adjectives which do not contain nouns can often be used as predicate adjectives. For instance, in the following examples, the hyphenated adjectives are underlined

  • .e.g. the long-winded orator

  • the wide-spread belief

These adjectives contain past participles. Hyphenated adjectives containing past participles are frequently used as predicate adjectives.

  • e.g. The orator was long-winded

  • .he belief is wide-spread.

I. ORDER

The order of predicate adjectives relative to one another is generally the same as the order of attributive adjectives relative to one another. The following examples illustrate the order of predicate adjectives.

  • e.g. The package is small and light.

  • The weather is clear, cold and dry.

  • The footstool is round and black.

In the first example, the adjective small, indicating size, precedes the adjective light, indicating weight. In the second example, the general descriptive adjective clear precedes the adjective cold, indicating temperature, which precedes the adjective dry, indicating humidity. In the third example, the adjective round, indicating shape, precedes the adjective black, indicating color.

II. PUNCTUATION

As can be seen in these examples, the last two adjectives in a list of predicate adjectives are usually separated from each another by the word and, and any preceding adjectives are usually separated from one another by commas.

  • e.g. The clothes were clean and dry

  • The dancers were tall, slender and graceful.

In a list of three or more predicate adjectives, an additional comma is sometimes placed before the word and.

  • e.g. The dancers were tall, slender, and graceful.

  • However, this additional comma is usually considered unnecessary.

B. ADJECTIVES WHICH CAN BE USED ONLY AS PREDICATE ADJECTIVES

The following are examples of adjectives with the prefix a which can be used only as predicate adjectives, not as attributive adjectives. The prefix a was formerly a preposition meaning on.

ADJECTIVES USED ONLY PREDICATIVELY

  • afloat

  • afraid

  • aglow

  • alive

  • alone

  • asleep

In some cases, related words can be used as attributive adjectives. In the following examples, words used only as predicate adjectives and related words used as attributive adjectives are underlined.

Predicate Adjectives

Attributive Adjectives

  The boat is afloat.

  the floating boat

  The child is afraid.

  the frightened child

  The sky is aglow.

  the glowing sky

  The animal is alive.

  the live animal

  The boy is asleep.

  the sleeping boy

As illustrated below, the words here, there and ready can be used as predicate adjectives.

  • e.g. The children are here.

  • The records were there.

  • I am ready.

The words here and there are often used as adverbs, and cannot be used as attributive adjectives. The word ready is used as an attributive adjective only in certain expressions such as ready money and a ready answer

.As illustrated in the following examples, a few adjectives differ in meaning, depending upon whether they are used as predicate adjectives or attributive adjectives

  • .e.g. The treasurer was present.

  • the present treasurer

  • Robin Harris was late.

  • the late Robin Harris

  • My friend is poor.

  • my poor friend

In the sentence the treasurer was present, the predicate adjective present indicates that the treasurer was not absent. However, in the phrase the present treasurer, the attributive adjective present indicates that the person referred to holds the position of treasurer at the present time.

In the sentence Robin Harris was late, the predicate adjective late indicates that Robin Harris did not arrive on time. However, in the phrase the late Robin Harris, the attributive adjective late indicates that Robin Harris is no longer alive.

In the sentence my friend is poor, the predicate adjective poor indicates that my friend has little money. However, in the phrase my poor friend, the attributive adjective poor indicates that my friend is in an unfortunate situation.C. LINKING VERBS


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