alone-asleep-ashamed-awake-upset ....

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
Hello,
Once our teacher told us (alone-asleep-ashamed-awake-upset-ill-well-afloat-afraid-alight-alike-alive) can not be before a noun.

Do you agree with him or not?

For example:

an upset man - an asleep baby - an alone boy - an ashamed girl - an awake man - an ill man - a well man -
an afraid man - an afloat ship - an alight lamp - an alike man - an alive man -

Do you agree with him?

Thank you
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I would say that
    1. Your teacher is correct with -afloat-alight-alike-alive-asleep-awake - you will note that these all have the structure "a+bare infinitive verb" where the a- changes the verb from intransitive to transitive (except float - there is not a verb "to afloat." [But if there were, it would be transitive :D.])

    1a. alone- is not derived from a verb but has earlier been used an adjective before a noun but this is very uncommon nowadays: 1874 J. S. Blackie On Self-culture 11 "The alone keystone of all sane thinking." (OED)

    2. -afraid[1]-ashamed might be used in rare circumstances note that these are taken from a+p.p.

    3. -upset this is relatively common in more than one of its meanings.

    4. -ill-well can be used


    [1] afraid from Affray(v. = to frighten;distress)+(ed)
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Everybody, thanks for answering but I think:

    "an upset man - an ashamed girl - an ill man - afraid - alone"

    Would be incorrect. Because if you check the dictionaries you will see that even the dictionaries say that
    they can not precede a noun.

    Upset: 1 [not before noun] http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/upset_1
    Ashamed: 1 [not before noun] http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/ashamed
    Ill: 2 [only before noun] http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/ill_1
    Afraid: 1 [not before noun] http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/afraid
    Alone: 1 [not before noun] http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/alone

    But I agree with you about "well". I think that works.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    What the dictionaries say, sb70012, is not the final word on how fluent speakers use English. Adventurous writers and speakers might very well have no problem with using those adjectives in front of nouns. Who is qualified to say that they would be wrong if they did so?

    I do agree with those dictionaries that many or most speakers use the adjectives in other positions within a sentence rather than placing them directly before the nouns they modify.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Never trust a dictionary 100%: http://www.examiner.com/article/10-tips-for-calming-the-upset-child "10 Tips for Calming the Upset Child" a quick search for "upset child" will produce many results.

    an ill man is so common that I am surprised it appears anywhere as "not before a noun." This is simply wrong. I've just checked the link - and it gives an example of ill as an adjective as "caring for mentally ill people."
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "By the time that fame came to him, Smith was an ill man and not in a position to enjoy that fame."

    "I'm sorry, I can't come. my husband is an ill man and I have to look after him."

    "An obviously ill man staggered towards me."

    "An ill man always thinks he is dying but expects his ill wife to look after him."

    I could go on... and, as I say, the dictionary actually gives an example of "ill" before a noun.
     
    Last edited:

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Once our teacher told us (alone-asleep-ashamed-awake-upset-ill-well-afloat-afraid-alight-alike-alive) can not be before a noun.
    I think that's a very silly and largely inaccurate generalization to make. Most of the specific examples admittedly do sound a bit unnatural, though I've certainly heard people say "He's not a well man". But "an upset stomach", which springs readily to mind, is a very common idiomatic phrase.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    I wish I could punish the author of the dictionaries. hahaha :)
    Dictionaries say do not use them before nouns but some authors and people use them before nouns.
    It makes most of the students confused.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think that's a very silly and largely inaccurate generalization to make.
    Well, maybe you're right, Donny.

    But it's true that there are quite a few adjectives which are not used in front of nouns, and that "asleep", "awake" etc are among them.

    Silly?:confused:
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    I think that's a very silly and largely inaccurate generalization to make.
    What do you mean by saying that? You mean my teacher was right or wrong? Sorry I couldn't understand your comment very well.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You mean my teacher was right or wrong?
    As I understand it, Donny B is saying that generalisations might be generally helpful but sometimes they can be too broad.

    However, see my signature below in blue. It is always dangerous to say, "the rule is..."
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What do you mean by saying that? You mean my teacher was right or wrong? Sorry I couldn't understand your comment very well.
    I mean that in my view it was a poor exercise of judgement in misleading his students like that. We've all quoted a number of examples in the space of the last 45 minutes or so which contradict his supposed "rule" that those words "can not be before a noun" and while some on the list, I agree, would make unlikely combinations, the resultant confusion could have been avoided with a bit more forethought.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "Well man" and "well woman" clinics exist (sometimes they are hyphenated to "well-man"), as seen on this British National Health Service page: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2378.aspx?CategoryID=61&.

    I think one could also say "I am not a well man."
    The same with "well baby clinics" and "well baby checkups/exams/visits" here in the States. The Well Baby Book has been a popular baby-care manual for over 30 years.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I mean that in my view it was a poor exercise of judgement in misleading his students like that....
    I couldn't disagree more, Donny. Teachers have to give guidelines to their students. The guideline given in sb's earlier post seems a reasonable one to me.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The reason I started to ask this question was because of this picture:

    Please do see it: http://upload7.ir/imgs/2014-02/41176760638392730136.jpg
    That is a very much clearer and more reasonable explanation of the logic behind this particular point, and in particular it gives a fuller explanation of some of the situations to which the general rule doesn't apply. :)

    What I was objecting to in post #10 was the way in which a seemingly random list of adjectives had been put forward by a teacher with the generalized rule that they cannot precede nouns.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Everybody, thanks for answering. Let's give it an end:

    :cross: = can not be used before a noun
    :tick: = can be used before a noun

    alone - ashamed - upset - ill - well - afraid :tick:
    asleep - awake - afloat - alight - alike - alive :cross:

    Is the final judgement correct about their usage?
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    alone - ashamed - upset - ill - well - afraid :tick:
    I don't think so. I've read through the thread twice, and I don't think anyone has cited any examples of alone, ashamed, or afraid properly placed immediately before a noun—and I can't think of any such examples. But that isn't to say that none exist. I agree with the comments that Donny and others have made about the danger of stating such "rules" without noting that there may be exceptions. The book page shown in the image to which you linked, SB, was in my opinion a much more helpful source in this regard than your teacher.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The reason I started to ask this question was because of this picture:

    Please do see it: http://upload7.ir/imgs/2014-02/41176760638392730136.jpg
    I think that all the "health and feeling" ones pretty all much deserve *s. For example, "glad rags" is a common phrase but "glad" has no *. "Poorly" is a little bit difficult, but it's a word I don't use myself. "Fine" has many meanings that are perfectly acceptable in front of nouns and some of them overlap with the vague idea of "health and feeling" so I'm not sure if it is or isn't. In any case, I think this * idea is not very helpful. It says: "Here's a guideline which may or may not have hundreds of exceptions. Good luck following it!" ;)
     
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