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3.3.5 The Adjective Phrase

The core property of adjective phrases is /aj, and elaboration of this element focuses on making verb-like (e.g. vpsp-aj, vpp-aj), noun-like (aj-n) and adverb-like (aj-av) properties explicit. Tag elements signalling comparative and superlative forms are positioned in the string of core properties (/aj-cpv and /aj-sup), while complementation type is indicated by the use of arrows to mark links between the head and the complement. In addition, occurrences of attributive adjectives in the non-default position after the head is indicated by the comment {post}.

The simple adjective phrase is tagged as /aj:







$might/av_MIGHT+Y $-y/xs-aj-av_+Y $-ly/xs-aj-av_0


In discourse, simple adjective phrases have functions which require the use of a string of core properties. Thus, in the following example, the adjective present is used as a nominal head of a prepositional phrase, and is therefore tagged as /aj-n-av (-av reflecting the fact that the constituent is governed by a preposition):



Simple adjective phrases are used in nominal functions in various ways: in terms of address, collective nouns and abstract concepts, for instance, adjective phrases in the latter two being preceded by a determiner:


$honour/aj-n{ho}_HONOR+ABLE $-able/xs-aj-n{ho}_+ABLE












$consider/aj-sup-n{coll}_*CONSIDER+ABLE $-able/xs-aj-sup{coll}_+ABLE




An adjective being used as the first unit of a compound noun is related to the nominal head, and the two units are tagged separately irrespective of the degree of lexicalization. All compounds have the property -k included in the core property string of the unit which defines the word-class of the compound:




In names, the comment {onom} 'onomastic' may be attached to the core category /aj:




$country/npl{onom}-k-av_+CONTRI+ES $/pln{onom}-k-av_+ES

Participial adjectives have as their first core property /vpsp 'present participle' or /vpp 'past participle', the second being -aj. Adjectival uses of past participles may also have the semantic comment {pass} 'passive':





$desire/aj>pr_DESYR+US $-ous/xs-aj>pr_+US

{zero pr<aj}


$content/vpp-aj>pr_COnTENT+IT $/vpp-aj>pr_+IT







$oblige{cause}/vpp{pass}-aj>vi_OBLIDG+EDD $/vpp{pass}-aj>vi_+EDD






The context of the past participle obliged in the example above refers to subjective obligation rather than an external circumstance or agency, and therefore the core property -aj is attached to the past participle, which has a passive meaning.

Comparative adjectives with the morpheme -er are tagged as aj-cpv, while superlative adjectives with -est receive the tag aj-sup. The tagging language uses the abbreviation /xs 'suffix' in the grammels of these morphemes, which is in accordance with the present practice in which only nouns and verbs have been treated as having inflectional morphemes. This decision is related to data-retrieval options and should not be considered a grammatical description.

$great/aj-cpv_GRET+EIR $-er/xs-aj-cpv_+EIR

$great/aj-sup_GRET+TEST $-est/xs-aj-sup_+TEST

These grammels are also used for comparatives and superlatives such as better and best, worse and worst:




Comparatives and superlatives realised using more and most are tagged as follows:


$will/vpsp-aj-cpv_WILL+ING $/vpsp-aj-cpv_+ING








$servitor/n_*SERUIT+ ur $-or/xs-n_+ ur

As discussed in Section 3.3.8 on connectives, comparative forms also occur in correlative pairs in complex sentences, for example in adverbial clauses of proportion. Comparative adjectives in complex sentences with the correlative pair the the (the first functioning as an adverbial clause of proportion) have been tagged as shown below. Similarly, comparative structures such as the more... the merrier are distinguished from other comparative forms by the indication of links in the grammels of both the article and the adjective:

{zero pre}


$soon{prop}/av-cpv-cj{-c-pre}<T-cj_SON+AIR $-er/xs-av-cpv-cj{-c-pre}_+AIR

{zero that<}



$come/vps13<n+_CUm+IS $/vps13<n+_+IS

{zero post}






A comparative adjective may be tagged to indicate its relation to a conjunction introducing an adverbial clause of comparison, in this variety mostly variants of than or nor:



$strong/aj-cpv>cj_STRONG+ER $-er/xs-aj-cpv>cj_+ER


{zero that<}



An adjectival attribute may appear after the noun it modifies. This marked use is tagged with the comment {post}:

{zero pr}













$woning/vn<n-k-av_WON+ING $/vn<n-k-av_+ING



Adjective complementation is primarily realised by prepositional phrases or nominal clauses of various kinds. No distinction is made between obligatory and optional types, and links between the head and complement are indicated for all complex adjective phrases.

































As mentioned in Section 3.3.3, a nominal clause complement of an adjective (here that of ignorant) may be fronted:

{zero pre}

{fronted c>}





$letter/npl>pr&pr_LetR+E?S $/pln>pr&pr _+E?S








{zero pr<n&npl}









There are other instances of this non-prepositional link between an adjective and a nominal-clause complement; for technical reasons, the link is indicated with a pair of arrows in the grammels of the adjective and the wh-pronoun which introduces the dependent clause.










$wise/aj-cpv<T>pn_WYS+SER $/aj-cpv<T>pn_+SER






A nominal that-clause complement with that-deletion is tagged as follows:





{zero that<aj}







Discontinuity between an adjective and a prepositional phrase complement is marked with the comment {non-ad} 'non-adjacency' in the grammel of the preposition.

As discussed in more detail in Section 3.3.6, prepositional complements of adjectives may have relative elements as their head; in these cases, the preposition is frequently stranded:













In the case of adjectives which may potentially be interpreted as multi-unit prepositions, a tagging practice is applied which is similar to that for connectives incorporating nouns or participial forms of verbs; thus the potential for prepositional function is indicated using the pair of core properties /aj-pr. This group of adjectives includes conform to, (in) contrary (to) and next (to):













Adjective phrases may occur in verbless relative clauses. The following relative structure alternates with the finite clause structure which are vacant in this realm:


$benefice/npl_BENEFIC+IS $/pln_+IS

{zero rel}


{zero v}