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0 Introduction to the AP

The adjective phrase (AP) is a structure built around an adjective. Most adjectives are words denoting properties. Below an example of an adjective is given:


APs may be distinguished syntactically with respect to the inner structure which they have and with respect to the outer structure which they appear in. Adjectives can be classified on the basis of their meaning, which yields a semantic classification of adjectives.


Semantic factors determine in part which types of adjectives may occur in which constructions. See See 1. Characteristics and classification of APs for the semantics and classification of adjectives and an overview of the constructions in which APs may appear.

Complementation. An adjective may have one or more arguments, belonging to the categories NP, PP and VP. In the following example, the adjective has an argument of the category PP, which has been bracketed in the example below:

Dät is gaans eeuwel [foar him].
that is very bad for them
That is very bad for them.

On the argument structure of adjectives, see 2. Complementation of APs.

Degree modification. Adjectives can be modified by adverbs. This type of modification is often used to express a high degree or intensification of the adjective. An example is given below:

Iek waas aiske bliede, dät du keemst.
I was very glad that you came
I was very glad that you came.

When used to modify verbs or adjectives (but not nouns), adjectives are also referred to as adverbials. On degree constructions, see 3. Modification and degree quantification of APs.

Comparative, superlative, equative. Adjectives can further be identified on the basis of their ability to be used in equative, comparative and superlative constructions. For example, in a comparative sentence like the following, the adjective is marked with the suffix –er.

Hie is gratter as iek.
he is bigger than me
He is bigger than me.

The standard for comparison appears in a phrase introduced by as ‘than’. On various constructions of adjectival degree, see 4. Comparison by degree of APs.

Attribution. Adjectives are used to modify nouns in the attributive construction. An example is given below:

Die litje Prins.
the little prince
The little prince.

Here the adjective premodifies a following noun, with whom it may share certain features like number. On this construction, see 5. Attribution of APs.

Predication. APs can also be used as an essential part of a predicative construction, as in (6) below:

Ju Ku is oold.
the cow is old
The cow is old.

On various types of predicative constructions, see 6. Predication of APs.

Partitive construction. Adjectives characteristically occur marked with the suffix –es when they are following indefinite pronouns which they modify. An example is given below:

Fuul flugg-es.
much beautiful-PART
Much that is beautiful.

On this type of constructions, see 7. Partitive adjective constructions.

Adverbial use of APs. APs can be used as adverbial modifiers of a number of other categories than the AP itself. In the following example, an AP modifies an Adpositional Phrase (PP):

[Joop unner‘t Water] wieren Huze tou skaujen.
deep below.the water were houses to see
Deep below the water, houses could be seen.

On this subject, see 8. Adverbial use of APs.

Verbal forms used as adjectives. The verbal paradigm has some forms which may be used in positions in which adjectives appear. Below an example is given with a present participle used in an attributive construction.

Lopend Woater.
running water
Running water.

On this subject, see 9. Participles and infinitives as APs.

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