Identifying between adjectives nouns adverbs and verbs

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dekdek

Member
Israel - Hebrew
Hi, my mom and I bumbed into a problem on her English homework ;)

"There has been disastrous decline in family size over only one generation".

I need to know which of the underlined words are adjs ns vs or advs

Our guess was adjective >> noun >> noun >> noun.


I have another sentence to analyze:

"Proponents of the restrictive immigration laws that were enacted in the 1920s often contrasted immigrants' birth and crime rates with the much lower ones of the native population".

We guessed the following: adj >> verb >> verb >> noun>> noun>> adj.

Thank a lot :)
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    dekdek said:
    Hi, my mom and I bumped into a problem on her English homework ;)

    "There has been disastrous decline in family size over only one generation".

    I need to know which of the underlined words are adjs ns vs or advs

    Our guess was adjective >> noun >> noun :cross: adjective - because it modifies the noun "size" >> noun.


    I have another sentence to analyze:

    "Proponents of the restrictive immigration laws that were enacted in the 1920s often contrasted immigrants' birth and crime rates with the much lower ones of the native population".

    We guessed the following: adj >> verb >> verb >> noun :cross: >> noun :cross: adjectives, because they modify the noun "rates" >>adj.

    Thank a lot :)
    Hope that helps.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    dekdek said:
    There has been a disastrous decline in family size over only one generation.
    It seems to me that an "a" should precede "disastrous decline." But aside from that:

    disastrous = adj. :tick:
    decline = noun :tick:
    family = noun
    generation = noun :tick:


    I believe "family" is in fact an adjective here because it describes what kind of "size" the speaker is talking about. If it were, "decline in the size of families," then "families" would be a noun.

    dekdek said:
    Proponents of the restrictive immigration laws that were enacted in the 1920s often contrasted immigrants' birth and crime rates with the much lower ones of the native population.
    restrictive = adj. :tick:
    were enacted = verb :tick: ("were" should probably be underlined, as it's part of the verb)
    contrasted = verb :tick:
    birth = noun
    crime = noun
    native = adjective :tick:


    "Birth" and "crime" act the same way as "family" does above: they describe what kind of "rates" the writer is writing about. They aren't just any rates, they are birth rates and crime rates. What kind of rates? Birth and crime. You can test whether a word modifies a noun, and is therefore an adjective, by asking "What kind of [noun]"..."[adjective] [noun]." What kind of "size"? Family size!


    Brian


    EDIT: Sorry elroy, you beat me! I want to add also that they may have been trying to trick you with the "restrictive" question, but of course you didn't fall for it. I just want to clarify some things. "Immigration" in the above sentence is an adjective because it describes what kind of laws they are. Now, anything that modifies an adjective is an adverb, and adverbs modifying adjectives usually precede those adjectives. Here, however, even though "restrictive" precedes the adjective "immigration," we have to consider "immigration laws" as one unified concept, one noun. Thus, restrictive modifies "immigration laws" because it tells not only what kind of laws, but specifically what kind of "immigration laws." This is why you would not write "restrictively immigration laws." It may seem simple and easy to brush over, but I thought I'd mention it in case you or your mom should get confused at all.
     

    bartonig

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think it would be unusual to classify birth and crime as adjectives. They are not classified in this way in dictionaries and grammars where, in my experience, they are called nouns.
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Nouns can have different functions (found here)
    Late last year our neighbours bought a goat.
    Portia White was an opera singer.
    The bus inspector looked at all the passengers' passes.
    According to Plutarch, the library at Alexandria was destroyed in 48 B.C.
    Philosophy is of little comfort to the starving.

    A noun can function in a sentence as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, a subject complement, an object complement, an appositive, an adjective or an adverb.
    More from wikipedia.com:
    Adjectival use of nouns

    English (like some other Germanic languages) is unusual in that it allows nouns to be used adjectivally (i.e., in function they are "adjectives", in structure they are nouns), as in
    a Georgia peach or
    his farewell letter.
     

    bartonig

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "... it allows nouns to be used adjectivally."

    What does adjectivally mean? There are many properties characteristic of adjectives - not necessarily all properties are owned by every adjective. Many adjectives, such as fast, have a comparative form as in the fastest man on earth. Most adjectives, for example cold, can be intensified with an adverb as in a very cold day. Many adjectives can be used as complements as, for example, dead in the man is dead. And, finally, many adjectives can pre-modify a noun. An example of the latter is a dead man.

    Some nouns in combinations with other nouns have the pre-modifying property. In a previous post there was his farewell letter. Farewell is a noun and one trick you can do is rephrase the phrase using a prepositional phrase - his letter of farewell. You could not do this if farewell were an adjective. For example, a man of dead is not acceptable. Taking examples from the original post family size is expressible as the size of families and birth rates as rates of birth. There is no form such as birthest, no possibility of intensification such as very birth, and no complement such as the rate is birth.

    There is a difference between family size and birth rate. In spoken English these are intoned <family 'size> and <'birth rate> (unless the speaker uses a different intonation to indicate another meaning). The intonation pattern of birth rate (the first noun is intoned more than the following noun) is a sure sign that it is a compound noun - that is, it is felt to be a noun in its own right. Other examples are dish cloth, hanging basket, and corner shop. Incidentally, all these can be expressed with a prepositional phrase - cloth for dishes, basket for hanging (from a roof), and shop on the corner. Taking another example from a previous post immigration law is like family size. The intonation is greatest on law. Notice, too, that immigration is a noun and immigration law is equivalent to law pertaining to immigration.
     

    modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    That was an excellent post, bartonig. I think it just comes down to the fact that English can use nouns to modify other nouns, and I don't see why they become adjectives just because most languages cannot use nouns in this way, and plus that would mean every noun in English is also an adjective.

    bartonig said:
    ...and no complement such as the rate is birth.
    I can't remember where, but I've seen this type of argument to show that "apple" is an adjective, because you can say (or many English speakers do say) things like

    A: What kind of pie is that?
    B: It's apple.

    But then again most things in language, like you point out, are not cut and dried, but some words are more "nouny" and other words are more "adjectivy" and some, like "apple" probably live in some no man's land in between.

    To go back to the original question, though, I'd say that it depends on your teacher/textbook, dekdek. This is really a matter of terminology so the "correct" answer depends on what terminology you're using.

    Thymios
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    bartonig said:
    "... it allows nouns to be used adjectivally."

    What does adjectivally mean? There are many properties characteristic of adjectives - not necessarily all properties are owned by every adjective. Many adjectives, such as fast, have a comparative form as in the fastest man on earth. Most adjectives, for example cold, can be intensified with an adverb as in a very cold day. Many adjectives can be used as complements as, for example, dead in the man is dead. And, finally, many adjectives can pre-modify a noun. An example of the latter is a dead man.

    Some nouns in combinations with other nouns have the pre-modifying property. In a previous post there was his farewell letter. Farewell is a noun and one trick you can do is rephrase the phrase using a prepositional phrase - his letter of farewell. You could not do this if farewell were an adjective. For example, a man of dead is not acceptable. Taking examples from the original post family size is expressible as the size of families and birth rates as rates of birth. There is no form such as birthest, no possibility of intensification such as very birth, and no complement such as the rate is birth.

    There is a difference between family size and birth rate. In spoken English these are intoned <family 'size> and <'birth rate> (unless the speaker uses a different intonation to indicate another meaning). The intonation pattern of birth rate (the first noun is intoned more than the following noun) is a sure sign that it is a compound noun - that is, it is felt to be a noun in its own right. Other examples are dish cloth, hanging basket, and corner shop. Incidentally, all these can be expressed with a prepositional phrase - cloth for dishes, basket for hanging (from a roof), and shop on the corner. Taking another example from a previous post immigration law is like family size. The intonation is greatest on law. Notice, too, that immigration is a noun and immigration law is equivalent to law pertaining to immigration.
    I have a few disagreements. First, I think that "a noun used adjectivally" means that the primary part of speech of the word is noun but that in the specific context of the sentence, it acts as an adjective. And yes, this is true of any noun in the English language. It doesn't make the actual word a "noun" in its own overall right, just in the context of the sentence. It's like a one-time deal.

    Secondly, I think that the only qualification for a word to be considered an adjective in a sentence is whether or not it describes a noun. It certainly has nothing to do with whether or not the adjective can be compared or intensified: after all, no one can be deader, more dead, very dead, or the most dead (same with unique).

    Finally, I'm not sure what the point was of that last paragraph. You were arguing that "family" and "birth" were both not adjectives (with which I disagree), but then you say they are different? What's the significance of "family size" and "birth rate" being different? Also, I stress the "family" and the "immigration" in "family size" and "immigration laws," respectively, just as I stress the "birth" in "birth rate."

    I do agree with you that we should not consider every noun in the English language to be an adjective--that'd be absurd. But I think that that is the very reason why we have the description "a noun acts adjectivally"--because even though it is not altogether an adjective per se, it can in certain contexts act as, and be considered grammatically, an adjective.

    Brian
     

    Paskovich

    Senior Member
    Germany - German
    Hey.

    Someone told me that you could also write something like "birth rate" and "familiy size" just like in German, one word directly after the other:

    birthrate and familysize

    Is this correct?
    In this case you won´t have to bother with nouns that actually are adjectives. :D
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    Paskovich said:
    Hey.

    Someone told me that you could also write something like "birth rate" and "familiy size" just like in German, one word directly after the other:

    birthrate and familysize

    Is this correct?
    In this case you won´t have to bother with nouns that actually are adjectives. :D
    I have seen birth-rate so I suppose that family-size would be acceptable.
    It is my experience that in English paired words are linked with a -.

    .,,
     

    thacerine

    New Member
    USA
    USA (English)
    I have seen "birthrate" and "birth-rate" used, however "family-size" I have not seen and would advise against. The best explanation I can think of for that is simply that rate of birth is something described so frequently in statistics that we have allowed it to become one word (or hyphenated), but this is not something that one can do with just any words one chooses :)
     
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