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participles as adjectives

10.07.05, 20:39

This might be an elemetary questions, however, I still have problems with the
English sentence structure. When can I say: all required information and all
information required? Is the first one wrong? I've been looking for an answer
in my grammar books but without success. I know I have to say: all information
given in the manual but then I'm lost.
Would appriciate your help.

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    • jan.kulczyk Re: participles as adjectives 10.07.05, 21:22
      If the participial/adjectival phrase is followed by another (subordinate) clause, it's only natural you should use the postposition. In other words, if anything follows your phrase, which directly refers to the adjective/participle in question, you should place the adjective AFTER the noun, so as to avoid any ambiguities, e.g.

      All vehicles used in the operation will be returned to their respective owners.
      Every soldier wounded in the battlefield received a disability pension and was decorated upon his return.

      In the above cases -> saying "all used vehicles in the operation"/"every wounded soldier in the battlefield" would twist the meaning of the sentences or make them ambiguous to the point of miscomprehension. In other cases, this kind of change may not have such dramatic effects, but could still make a sentence sound awkward and/or unclear.

      As to cases where nothing follows the adjectival/participial phrase, the ground becomes more shaky. How to distinguish the "Please supply all materials required./all required materials"? I would say this is largely a matter of style and certain coventions/fixed phrases. Typically, formal style tends to use the postposition more (i.e. when the adjective FOLLOWS the noun) but it is not always the case. Generally, the thing to do is read, learn and imitate. ;)

      Sorry I couldn't be of any more help.
    • kylie1 Re: participles as adjectives 10.07.05, 21:52
      Participles BEFORE nouns can be used as adjectives:

      required (past participle) + information (noun)

      "required" functions here as an adjective because it modifies the noun (inf.)

      Participles AFTER nouns are used to define the nouns in the same way we use
      identifying relative clauses.

      Let me show you how that works:

      "All information required" can be read as "All information that was required".

      that was required is a relative clause that describes (defines) the
      noun "information". Oftentimes we simply reduce the relative clause
      to "information required" as in the example below:

      We couldn't come up with all the information required for this project"
      = translates into:

      We couldn't come up with all the information THAT WAS required for the project".

      • jan.kulczyk Re: participles as adjectives 10.07.05, 22:24
        Sure, but it still doesn't solve our problem ->
        I got all the information required/I got all the required information - besides grammar and clause/syntax mumbo-jumbo, it all amounts pretty much to style (where no subordinate clause follows, of course). The fact that the first is supposed to mean "that was required" and the second use is an adjective doesn't change the fact that the communicative difference between the two is no less than vague.
        • kylie1 Re: participles as adjectives 10.07.05, 23:45
          >besides grammar and clause/syntax mumbo-jumbo,

          She did ask about the sentence structure, didn't she? And that's the kind of
          mumbo-jumbo she got from me.

          >doesn't solve our problem

          What is the problem?

          > difference between the two is no less than vague.

          But then again so is her question. In terms of sentence structure I did provide
          the info she asked for.

          • jan.kulczyk Re: participles as adjectives 11.07.05, 00:09
            Sure you did, and expertly too.

            But the final question: "When can I say: all required information and all
            information required?" when both phrases are given in isolation is yet to be answered ;)

            I'll be off then to ponder this issue on my own.. ;)
            • lucilla Re: participles as adjectives 11.07.05, 16:10


              thanks, you have helped me. I'm much more used to the German structure which
              uses adjectival phrases very often. It seems, though, that English doesn't like
              them that much. I know that about the subordinate clauses as in the sentence
              "all the information required for the project". And as I said I've trouble with
              the other type when no subordinate clause follows. I suppose that jan.kulczyk is
              right when he says that it more the matter of style than grammar.
              Once again thanks for your help.
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