Common Mistakes | Adjectives Form and Position


What is this episode about?

Learn to spot and correct the common mistakes people make when they use adjectives and we will focus in today’s episode on adjectives form and position.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Well come to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is going to be about common mistakes. And that is very interesting because we can talk about more than one topic in this episode, because it can be grammar. It can be vocabulary. It can be anything else. Today, we’re going to talk about common mistakes.

[00:00:25] We usually make when we use electives in our sentences, and we will focus on adjectives form and adjectives position. What we will do is that I will read the sentence and I will give you a chance to figure out what might be wrong with the sentence. Or you may pause the episode and try to think about what can be wrong with this sentence.

[00:00:45] I’m going to give you. And we will talk about why the sentence I gave you was wrong. And I promise you that all the sentences I give you are wrong, or there is something wrong about them. They’re not trick questions. So, let me start with adjectives form common mistakes with adjectives, for the way we form our adjectives.

[00:01:05] So I will start with two sentences. I was too frightened to move and several banks have shown interest in the proposed development. So, I will read them again while you think about what might be wrong with these sentences. I was too frightened to move several banks have shown interest in the proposed development.

[00:01:27] So maybe I gave you a clue because when I read it and I link, maybe I kind of misled you and you thought that I put a D after propose. But I didn’t, it’s just proposed, not proposed. And in the first sentence, I just said frightened, not frightened. There’s no ed. So, what do you think if you guessed it right?

[00:01:49] You should say I was too frightened to move with ed and several banks have shown interest in the proposed development with a D many adjectives are past participles, like frightened, scared, pleased, proposed, relaxed. Retired United and the past participle of a regular verb ends in ed, but sometimes people tend to drop this ed and they just use the verb as an adjective without adding the CT.

[00:02:18] So pay attention to that. It happens a lot and you might make this mistake if you don’t good for you. If you do be careful not to do it next time, and now let’s move to other two sentences. We stayed in some excellence hotels. And she thinks she is very important. I would say that again, we stayed in some excellent hotels and she thinks she’s very important within E after T important.

[00:02:46] E what do you think? What’s the problem here? The problem here is that we treated those adjectives as other nouns. That means in the first example, I put them in plural because we have hotels. So, I said, excellence. I put an S to the adjective and for the second one, because it’s a sheet we’re talking about a sheet, a female, we put important with an E.

[00:03:10] Now for some people, this might be strange, but for some others, people who speak French, for example, they will find that logical because in French, they do that in French. They have different forms of adjectives based on singular or plural, masculine and feminine. But in English, we don’t. The form of an adjective does not change for number or gender.

[00:03:34] We don’t say excellent hotels. What we should say. We stayed in some excellent hotels. It doesn’t matter if it’s one hotel. If it’s 10 hotels, if it’s a hundred hotels, the adjective always comes in one single form. It doesn’t change because we have plural and the same goes for the second example. She thinks she is very important without an E at the end, even we’re using important to describe a girl.

[00:04:01] We don’t add E to it. We don’t add anything because it does not change. Adjectives do not change for number. Or gender. Remember that? So, we say an excellent hotel, two excellent hotels, a hundred excellent hotels. Excellent. Without an S a clever boy, a clever girl without an E let’s move on to another set of examples.

[00:04:25] I am very interesting in problems caused by pollution. It was such a board film that I fell asleep. So, what do you think? I was very interesting in problems caused by pollution and it was such a board film that I fell asleep. What do you think the problem is? Well, obviously the problem is in interesting and bored, they’re correct in their own, right.

[00:04:51] But if you think about the way we use them here, it’s not exactly what we mean. The two part is simple forms of a verb are often used as adjectives. We can use ed, we can say interested and interesting, but the meaning is different. When you say interested, you are not the person causing this feeling. You are the person affected by this feeling.

[00:05:14] But if you use ING, that means you are describing the person or thing that causes the feeling. For example, if we’re talking about the movie, we should say boring. Because first of all, the movie cannot feel so we don’t use EDI with it. You cannot say the movie was bored. The movie doesn’t have any feelings.

[00:05:33] We have feelings. The movie was boring. I N G it was causing this feeling and we were bored. And the opposite for the first example. I am very interesting. If you just say I am very interesting. That means I cause this feeling everybody around me is interested in me. Well, that is a little bit arrogant of course, but it is possible if you want to use it.

[00:05:59] Interesting. You have to know what you mean by that, but here. Definitely. I don’t want to say I am very interesting in problems. What is the interesting thing for me? The problems caused by pollution are the interesting things. So, I am affected by that. I am not the person who is causing the feeling. Here I am, the person who is affected by the feeling.

[00:06:22] So I should use the EDD form, not the ING form. I am very interested in problems caused by pollution. So, for example, if we want to talk about a trip and we want to say that we were all so tired after the trip, because the trip was tiring. Or tired. We were tired, but the trip was tiring. Exhausting. We were excited after the trip.

[00:06:48] So what does that mean? The trip was what the trip was exciting. So, you see the two part is simple forms of a verb are often used as adjectives, but remember the EDI form describes how someone feels and the ING form describes the person or thing that causes the feeling. With that being said, let’s move on to talk about something else that has to do with adjectives.

[00:07:13] And that is adjectives position. Now I will give you the sentence and think about it. Think if it is correct or not, well, obviously it’s not, but think what’s wrong with it. Some ill people refuse to take medicine. Well, what’s wrong with that? We’re not talking about the form anymore. IL is correct as an adjective form, but what do you think about the position?

[00:07:33] Should we say? Or can we say ill people? What do you think? Well, it turns out that we cannot say ill people. We can say it in two different ways. We can correct this mistake in two different ways. We can say some sick people refuse to take medicine, or we can say some people who are ill or sick refuse to take medicine.

[00:07:56] So what’s the deal here? Why can’t we use ill before the now? Well, most adjectives can be used before announced or after a linking verb, which is vert to be, become, look and seen. For example, we can say she has long or beautiful or black hair. We use it in this position before the noun. Which we call attributed by the way, or we can use the same adjectives in what we call the predicative position, which comes after linking verbs.

[00:08:27] And here we can say her hair is long or beautiful or black. So, we said she has long hair or her hair is long. She has beautiful hair, or her hair is beautiful. We can use it in both. Positions some adjectives, actually, most adjectives can be used in both positions. However, some adjectives can be used in only one of these positions.

[00:08:52] For example, we can say the boy was alone, but we do not say the alone boy. We can say the main road, but we do not say the road is main. When I use these examples, you might think to yourself. Yeah, the alone boy, I’ve never heard of it before the road is Maine. What is that? I’ve never heard anybody say it before like that.

[00:09:15] And you’re right, because it can’t be used like that adjectives, like this are never, or seldom used before and now. And some adjectives, like this include afraid. We don’t say an afraid person. But we say this person is afraid. Alight alike, alive, alone, ashamed, asleep, awake, aware content, glad ill lit. Ready?

[00:09:41] Sorry. Sure. Upset. Well, And of course, unafraid, unaware, unwell, et cetera, the opposite of these adjectives. So out of these, for example, you can say she is asleep, but you don’t say she is NSA sleep girl. You don’t use these adjectives in the attributive position before the noun. We just use them after linking verbs, after verb to be, become, look, seem, et cetera.

[00:10:07] Well, that being said about these adjectives, some other adjectives. Are never or seldom used after linking verb. And these include chief drunken, elder lighted, little main principle. You don’t say this problem is Maine. You say, this is the main problem is them before now. So that being said. It doesn’t mean that you should have a list now for all adjectives, or you should be extra careful to know whether we can use the adjectives before or after.

[00:10:39] Don’t bother yourself with that. But if you are in doubt, you can check the adjective in a good dictionary, and it will tell you if it can be used in an attribute of position or a predicative position. That being said, let me move to the next example. The country’s main problem is economic. What’s wrong with that main problem?

[00:10:59] Yes. We said we can’t use main. We just said that. We just said we can’t use main after verb to BS and we use it correctly here. Main problem. We used it before the noun, so what’s wrong. What’s the other adjective in this sentence? It’s economic. Well, economic for the form is perfect, but what’s wrong with this one?

[00:11:16] Well, if you want to correct the sentence, you can say either the country’s main problem is an economic one. The country’s main problem is an economic one, or you can say the country’s main problem concerns its economy. You used the, now you just changed the adjective. Why is that? What’s wrong with using economic?

[00:11:36] Just like that? Well, we can say the economic crisis, but not the crisis is economic. Why? Because adjectives, which classify usually go before and now, not after linking verb and adjectives, like economic it classifies. What kind of problem we’re talking about or what kind of issue we’re talking about or what kind of subject it is about and some other.

[00:11:59] Adjectives are just like that. We can say an economic policy, atomic energy, a medical certificate. Legal advice, the Northern hemisphere, a weekly visit those adjectives. They classify the noun and because they classify the nouns, they come before they should come before the noun, they cannot just come on their own.

[00:12:22] They cannot be after verb to be period. We cannot say, for example, this advice is legal. What does that mean? Well, it means something else, to be honest, you know, just the meaning changes, or we can say, for example, this paper is medical. We don’t say that. Say medical paper, say legal advice. We don’t say this hemisphere is Northern and the other one is Southern.

[00:12:44] We don’t say that. We use them before the now. So, so that being said, I just need you to know that adjectives of nationality, race and religion can be used in both positions. So, don’t mix those with these adjuncts. We’re talking about that. Classify the noun. So, we can say, for example, he is a friend chef, or we can say this chef is French.

[00:13:07] Both are fine. Even they are classifying adjectives, but adjectives of nationality, race or religion can be used in both positions. And now let’s move to the next example. The only thing that was damaged was the window of the opposite shop. What’s wrong with that, but you might have guessed, we’re talking about.

[00:13:27] Placing of adjectives. So, what can be wrong with those? Are we talking about that was damaged. Was there something wrong with using damaged after verb to be, or was the problem with the word or the adjective opposite if you think it’s with opposite? You’re correct. Because we should say the only thing that was damaged was the window of the shop opposite not was the window of the opposite shop.

[00:13:53] Why is that instead of saying the shop that was opposite, we can simply say the shop opposite adjectives, which may be used immediately after announced, include concerned, involved, opposite, present, and responsible. And you might say, but I’ve heard of these words used before and out and you’re right. But especially for these adjectives, if you use them before and after the meaning changes.

[00:14:19] For example, let’s take present. The agreement was signed by everyone present, or my present contract ends in September. What’s the difference between present here. The first example we use present after the noun and the second one, we used it before the, now the first one, the agreement was signed by everyone present, everyone who was there.

[00:14:42] That is the meaning of the adjective present in this sentence. But when I say my present contract ends in September, we’re talking about the contract I have now at the moment. So, the meaning is different and that’s why we need to be careful. Whether to use them before the noun or after the noun, the meaning changes.

[00:15:02] Let’s take another example. The person responsible should be punished here. We use responsible after the now person now responsible adjective, or we say responsible parents do not let a child play with matches. What is the difference? You can tell the meaning is different. Responsible in the first one is different from the second one.

[00:15:23] Let’s check it out. The person responsible should be punished. What I mean here, the person who did this should be punished. But the second one, I’m not talking about the culprit, the guilty person. I’m just talking about responsible parents, which is a positive thing. I’m talking about parents who are mature, who care and who look after their children.

[00:15:44] Responsible parents do not let a child play with matches because they have responsibility. They’re taking parenting seriously. That is responsible parents. What about opposite? The one we just had in the example, if we use opposite after the noun, it’s obviously different from opposite before the noun. So, let’s take a look.

[00:16:04] Henry has a flat above the bank and I live in the house opposite. So here we’re talking about two houses facing each other. So here we say the house opposite two houses facing each other on the same street. So, if we go out of the house, we can see each other. So that is opposite if we use it after the now but notice the difference when we use it before the noun, the two families leave at opposite ends of the street.

[00:16:30] Do you think they see each other? If they go out of their houses or their apartments? Absolutely not opposite ends here. We’re talking about the two ends of the street itself. And if the street is long, so that means they can be far away from each other. You see here the meaning change between using opposite after the noun or before the noun, let’s take a look at concerned.

[00:16:52] Further information will be sent to everyone, concerned to everyone who’s interested or to everyone who has to do with. Sometimes everyone concerned. That means everyone who had to do with this let’s say agreement or any kind of thing that I want to send information about. But if we use concern before the noun, it is a different story.

[00:17:13] A number of concerned, parents wanted to know why the syllabus had been changed, concerned parents. Yes. Maybe we can say they’re interested as well. But it’s not about being interested. It’s about being worried. When you want to talk about concern, parents, you talk about parents who had worries about something.

[00:17:32] So here we’re not talking just about interested. We’re talking about worried people. They’re worried about something. That’s why we call them concerned parents. So that was about this point. We still have two points that we want to talk about. So, let’s move on to the point before the last one. Let me give you the sentence that has a mistake.

[00:17:52] Most of the visited government schools have very modern facilities. What’s the problem with that? Most of the visited government schools have very modern facilities. If you look at it, nothing’s wrong with that visited government is the problem with visited or with modern, but obviously it’s with visited.

[00:18:11] We should say most of the government schools visited, not visited government schools have very modern facilities. Why is that? When a passport is simple, like visited refers more to an action than to a state. It normally comes after the, now the verbal force of visited becomes clear when we fill out the sentence, most of the government schools that we visited have very modern facilities.

[00:18:37] So if you think about the sentence this way, and we leave out that we. We understand. Yeah. Most of the government schools visited have very modern facilities. Now it makes sense because we usually leave out that we, we don’t usually say that we don’t have to, but pay attention when a past participle refers more to a state than to an action.

[00:18:58] It comes before the, now we say a retired sales manager or two cracked glasses. We still have the past participle as an adjective, but we used it before the noun because we’re talking about a state more than we talk about an action. And now for our last point, for this episode, I would like a big enough house for my parents to live in.

[00:19:20] Well, it might sound awkward to you. And it is to be honest, because I would like a big enough house for my parents to live in. Something’s wrong with that? Compare this to the corrected version. I would like a house big enough for my parents to live in. Well, it makes sense. It is smoother. And actually, the adjective, which has a qualifier like enough for my parents to live in normally goes after the now.

[00:19:45] So that being said, these more, all the common mistakes we wanted to focus on today, I hope you found the information useful, and I hope you learn to use your adjectives better after this common mistakes episode from English plus podcast. Don’t forget that you can find the transcript of this episode in the link.

[00:20:02] I will leave in the description. And if you would like to receive the PDF practice worksheet with its answer key, you can become a patron of our show on Patreon. You will get a lot of other benefits and a PDF practice worksheet with its answer key. For every episode we publish every day, that being said, this is your host, Danny saying, thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast.

[00:20:25] I will see you now.


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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