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Positive and Postpositive adjectives

  • September 21, 2015
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A positive adjective is the basic form of an adjective that is used to describe a simple quality, such as slow, happy, big and so forth.

  • A nice gift
  • Fast cars
  • Cold water
  • Fluffy kittens

Postpositive adjectives come after the words they describe. This is the rule in Spanish and other languages but it is rare in English. Postpositive is most often found in titles and roles, idioms, heraldry and in cuisine.Positive

  • Father Time
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Knights Templar
  • Johnny-come-lately
  • proof positive
  • battle royal
  • a lion rampant
  • a stag statant
  • heir apparent
  • eggs Benedict
  • chicken Alfredo
  • Attorney General

Examples of postpositives in popular idioms, clichés and set phrases:

“Bill has left for parts unknown.”

“She welcomed her son back with arms wide open.”

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“In times past, cowboys on horseback roamed these fields.”

Movie and book titles also follow this form, using numbers.

“Bunnies from Mars, IV”

“Bob’s Book of Bagel Bakeries, 3″

Last names, surnames, family names:

Arthur Bernard Harris, III

The Brothers Grimm

Frank Blarb, Jr.

Ned Williams, Sr.

In heraldry, the most important aspects are listed first, followed by less-important descriptive words.

“Azure, a unicorn passant argent

“Sable, a griffin argent between three mullets or

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