drunk sailor vs. drunken sailor?

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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Why do you believe it to be wrong? There are many examples of text including "drunk sailor" to be found through a Google search, many of them from reputable sources. The phrase "drunken sailor" is, however, very much more common (according to Google's ngram). It doesn't have to be "drunken sailor", but you would be wise to prefer it.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    According to Collins Gem Dictionary of English Usage, The past participle form ‘drunk’ can be used as an adjective in front of a noun, but usually only when accompanied by a following adjective: a drunk master sergeant; a drunk black man; an extremely drunk young man. Otherwise the adjective drunken is used before a noun.
    But I found numerous of examples of ‘drunken’ followed by another adjective used in front of a noun.

    A drunken young man
    https://www.google.com/search?

    An extremely drunken man
    https://www.google.com/search?

    Is there a difference?

    Thanks
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Drunken, as noted, is more commonly used before the noun: a drunken sailor.

    But the predicate adjective is invariably drunk: the sailor was drunk.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Drunken, as noted, is more commonly used before the noun: a drunken sailor.

    But the predicate adjective is invariably drunk: the sailor was drunk.


    What about [An extremely drunken young man] ? The book says when there is a second adjective 'drunk' should be used.
    According to the book I mentioned, the phrase should read: [An extremely drunk young man] not [ an extremely drunken young man] .
     
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    sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    "Drunken" isn't wrong, it's just rare to hear it these days. We usually just say "drunk."

    I think seteddy may be onto something -- we use "drunken" for sailors because... well... what DO you do with a drunken sailor earl-aye in the mornin'?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The past participle form ‘drunk’ can be used as an adjective in front of a noun, but usually only when accompanied by a following adjective: a drunk master sergeant; a drunk black man; an extremely drunk young man. Otherwise the adjective drunken is used before a noun.
    But I found numerous of examples of ‘drunken’ followed by another adjective used in front of a noun.
    It says "can", not "must". "Drunken" is far more common when used before the noun, whether or not it refers to sailors, except when there is a second adjective, in which case "drunk" is often used. But it doesn't have to be used.

    See this ngram, and try changing the noun. https://books.google.com/ngrams/gra...rl=t1;,drunk woman;,c0;.t1;,drunken woman;,c0

    PS The noun affects the choice of adjective - try substituting "slob" for "woman".
     
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