adjectives: position

{adjective + noun
subject + copula verb (be. seem, look etc) + adjective}

  • Most adjectives can go in two places in a sentence:
    a. before a noun
      The new secretary doesn’t like me.
      She married a rich businessman

    b. after a ‘copula verb’ (be, seem, look, appear, feel and some other verbs
    That dress is new,isn’t it? He looks rich

  • A few adjectives can go before a noun, but not usually after a verb. Examples are elder, eldest and little . After a verb we use older, oldest and small.
      My elder brother lives in Newcastle. (Compare: He’s three years
      older than me.)
      He’s a funny little boy. (Compare: He looks very small.)

  • Some adjectives can go after a verb, but not usually before a noun. The most common are ill (see 169), well (see 359) and afraid, alive, alone, asleep. Before nouns we use sick, healthy, frightened, living, lone, sleeping.
      He looks ill (Compare: He’s a sick man.)
      Your mother’s very well (Compare: She’s a very healthy woman.)
      She’s asleep (Compare: a sleeping baby)

  • In expressions of measurement, the adjective comes after the measurement-noun,
      two metres high(N0t high two metres)
      ten years old two miles long