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Limit and scale adjectives

Scale adjectives form their superlative and comparative forms in well-known ways which will be explained later. Also they can be used with adverbs intensifiers- that also is explained in further text.

Limit adjectives are adjectives whose meaning already contains an idea of an absolute degree. Therefore, they are not usually used in comparative and superlative forms. Here are some limit adjectives: perfect, huge, enormous, impossible, wonderful, marvellous, furious, terrified, blind, etc. If we want to express highest degree of these adjectives than we do not use standard superlative form as you could see described later in text, yet we use limit adjective combined with adverbs completely, absolutely, totally, utterly: completely impossible, totally furious etc.

Substantivisation of adjectives

substantivized adjectives, i.e. those that in the course of time have been converted to nouns and therefore have acquired the ability to name substances or objects: The bride was dressed in white. You mix blue and yellow to make green.

The substantivation of adjectives may be either complete or incomplete. In the case of complete substantivation, words like a native, a relative, a conservative, an alternative, a cooperative, a derivative, a savage, a stupid, a criminal, a black, a white, a liberal, a radical, a general, a corporal, a Russian, an American, a Greek, a Hungarian, a weekly, a monthly and so on share all the nounal grammatical characteristics: number, case, the ability to be used with the definite and indefinite articles: a native,

two natives, the native's hut; an American, two Americans, the American's accent.

The incomplete substantivation presupposes only some of nounal grammatical characteristics. For example, some of substantivized adjectives have only the plural form: valuables, eatables, ancients, sweets.

Most of substantivized adjectives of the kind are similar to collective nouns since they denote a whole class. They are used with the definite article: the rich, the poor, the unemployed, the black, the white, the deaf and dumb, the English, the French, the Chinese. In a sentence they are normally associated with a plural verb: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The substantivized adjectives denoting abstract notions are used with the definite article but are associated with the singular verb: the good, the evil, the beautiful, the future, the present, the past: The evil that men do lives after them/The good is oft interred with their bones. (W. Shakespeare)


The numerals are united into one part of speech only semantically they denote the number or the order of objects, and are classified into cardinal and ordinal. They are invariable words and can function as attributes, subjects, predicatives and objects (when they are substantivized and perform the functions of a noun: She has not seen me for four days. She might be thirty or thirty-five. We are seven. I was looking for old friends and found only two.

An ordinal numeral can be modified by an infinitive denoting an action in which the object mentioned occupies a definite place He was the first to come.

Some scholars offer to classify ordinal numerals and pronouns like many, several as a separate part of speech, quantitative words. Some scolars offer classification of numerals into nouns (a hundred, used with an article) and adjectives ordinal numerals, functioning as attributes. Noun-numerals are offered to be united into one class with noun-pronouns (we, someone), adjective-numerals with adjective-pronouns (this, his, other). Besides, some wirds are difficult to classify: some, one. Adjectives many, much, few, little function rather like numerals, though they have the category of comparison. There is hardly any difference between a numeral a hundred and a noun a dosen. Thus, we have to apply polar approach here. They are substantivised in the plural form: hundreds of people.

It is still more complicated with fractions and decimals: they are used like nouns, with articles and plural endings when the numerator is more than one a half, a third, two thirds, a quarter (fourth), three quarters (fourths), two and five sixths the numerator is a cardinal numeral and the denominator is ordinal. Decimals are compound words, which have the word point and then cardinal numbers. For zero several different words are used: nought in math, oh in telephone numbers, nil in sport and some physical magnitudes, love in tennis. They can also be treated both as nouns and numerals.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 3335

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