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[Czechlist] Adjectives before and after the noun

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  • James Kirchner
    Lately they ve been sending me a lot of somewhat bad non-native translations into English to edit. (If they re bad enough, I just throw them back.) One of the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 1, 2013
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      Lately they've been sending me a lot of somewhat bad non-native translations into English to edit. (If they're bad enough, I just throw them back.)

      One of the most persistent errors I find in these texts is Czechs' and Germans' inability to feel when a participial adjective should come before the noun and when after.

      For example, in inappropriate contexts, they will write "the entered word" instead of "the word entered" or "the ordered goods" instead of "the goods ordered", etc.

      I haven't fully researched it yet, but I wonder if there's a rule of thumb non-native speakers can be given to discern when this adjective should go before or after the noun. If they get it wrong, it can really sound clumsy sometimes.

      Any thoughts?

      Jamie


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    • Jirka Bolech
      Hi Jamie, I suppose this is permanent (before) versus temporary (after) [quality], in principle, while it might need stressing this is about -ed adjectives or
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 1, 2013
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        Hi Jamie,

        I suppose this is permanent (before) versus temporary (after) [quality],
        in principle, while it might need stressing this is about -ed adjectives
        or irregular past participles used that way...

        Jirka Bolech


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      • Melvyn
        ... OK perhaps (?) because postposition can be used to express a temporary state: (quoting Practical English Usage by Michael Swan p 403) We often use
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 1, 2013
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          --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, Jirka Bolech <jirka@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Jamie,
          >
          > I suppose this is permanent (before) versus temporary (after) [quality],
          > in principle, while it might need stressing this is about -ed adjectives
          > or irregular past participles used that way...

          OK perhaps (?) because postposition can be used to express a temporary state:

          (quoting Practical English Usage by Michael Swan p 403)

          We often use participles after nouns in order to define or identify these nouns in the same way as we use identifying relative clauses
          e.g.
          We couldn't agree on any of the problems discussed
          = the problems that were discussed
          (NOT the discussed problems)

          Sometimes the meaning can be different. Involved problems are not the same as the problems involved. Just to make things awkward.

          BR

          Melvyn
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