Re: Adjective-noun word order

From: Thomas J Logan (
Date: Sat Nov 28 1998 - 14:58:41 EST

Hello Paul & All

Interestingly enough Paul's question parallels one which I was considering posting. I
was reviewing an article concerning the attributive and predicate position of the

Apparently the position is determined by word order. If the adjective comes after the
definite article it is in the the attributive position. In that particular
circumstance the adjective could be in the ascriptive use or in the restrictive use.
The ascriptive use follows the order ARTICLE-ADJECTIVE- NOUN while the restrictive

The text I was reading makes the statement that the adjective in the attributive
position is not making the central statement or thought of the sentence concerning
the the noun it is modifying. It is only ascribing an attribute or quality to the
noun. The restrictive use rather than merely ascribing a quality to the noun gives it
a little more force

example of ascriptive use Lk 6:45

45 ****The good man ***out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is


article-adjective-noun order

and the restrictive use Jn 10:11

I am ******the good shepherd; ***


where the order is article noun article adjective.

which literally reads the shepherd the good

In the predicate position the adjective itself is actually making the statement about
the noun. The noun - adjective combination itself is said to form a complete thought
in itself.

Mk 10:18b
No one is good except God alone.

The phrase No one is good consists of but two Greek words


No one good

the appropriate form of the verb to be must be inserted to get the true sense

No one **is** good


in Christ

Paul Zellmer wrote:

> Here's a very basic question that is causing me a bit of pause. Is
> there a subtle difference between the adjective-noun word order and
> the noun-adjective word order. I realize both are common and
> acceptable, but does one put a slightly different slant on the
> meaning.
> Take, for example, the first part of James 1:14, the part that is EI
> DE ZHLON PIKRON EXETE. Does the fact that ZHLON, which is the noun,
> precedes PIKRON, the adjective, give the term any slight difference
> in meaning than if PIKRON preceded ZHLON? In some languages, it
> does. For example, in the Ibanag language of the Philippines, the
> adjective-noun word order generally results in the phrase being
> treated as a whole unit. It is the "unmarked" word order. On the
> other hand, a noun-adjective word order is marked, putting the focus
> (for this language, anyway) on the noun.
> My question probably stems from the fact that word order is so
> important in English, but I haven't really gotten a good feel for
> the Greek. It would not surprise me if there were a bit of
> difference of meaning in word order even in that language with its
> much looser structure.
> Paul
> --
> Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
> Ibanag Translation Project
> Cabagan, Philippines
> ---
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