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Hi Everyone,

When can "beyond reasonable doubt" be used as an adjectival phrase and why?

Thank you.

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It is a prepositional phrase. "Doubt" is a noun and "beyond" is a preposition.

Sometimes phrases like this can be used to modify a noun, but it is unusual.

I cannot imagine this "set phrase" as a modifier, except in a forced, unnatural way such as this one

The "beyond-a-reasonable-doubt" judgement of criminality used in US trial courts sometimes presents a difficulty for juries.

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Cup cake

When can "beyond (a) reasonable doubt" be used as an adjectival phrase and why?
(It's used more often with 'a'.)

Technically, that's a prepositional phrase that modifies a noun, as in the man with the black hat, a gift for my brother, or the planets beyond Jupiter.

This usage of beyond (a) reasonable doubt is very rare, typically in the combination proof beyond (a) reasonable doubt.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not involve proof to an absolute certainty.
If you are going to put a man behind bars then you need proof beyond reasonable doubt.

[ Not to put too fine a point on it, even in this expression, because proof is the noun form of the verb prove, the phrase beyond a reasonable doubt is more like an adverb: to prove (something) beyond a reasonable doubt.

The analysis depends on how far you want to get into the weeds with your students. ]

So when can you use that phrase as if it were an adjective? Probably never. Emotion: sad

CJ

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Comments  
Cup cakeWhen can "beyond reasonable doubt" be used as an adjectival phrase and why?

It's "beyond a reasonable doubt". The phrase has been popularized in TV lawyer shows. In the US, when a person is accused of a crime, he is entitled to a trial by jury. The prosecutor has to prove to the jury that he did it, but not to a certainty. The prosecutor only has to prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt". Any doubt the jury has about the man's guilt has to be reasonable to acquit him. The phrase is adverbial, not adjectival. If you ever use it, it will smack of jury trial.

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
anonymous
Cup cakeWhen can "beyond reasonable doubt" be used as an adjectival phrase and why?

It's "beyond a reasonable doubt". The phrase has been popularized in TV lawyer shows. In the US, when a person is accused of a crime, he is entitled to a trial by jury. The prosecutor has to prove to the jury that he did it, but not to a certainty. The prosecutor only has to prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt". Any doubt the jury has about the man's guilt has to be reasonable to acquit him. The phrase is adverbial, not adjectival. If you ever use it, it will smack of jury trial.

I disagree. It is of course a preposition phrase headed by the prep "beyond, but it's not adverbial; rather, it's a predicative complement of "be".

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
anonymousIt is of course a preposition phrase headed by the prep "beyond, but it's not adverbial; rather, it's a predicative complement of "be".

Anonymous,

I can't find the sentence you're referring to. I can't find the 'be' (or any of its forms) that you may be referencing. Can you please clarify?

CJ

Thanks, CJ. Emotion: smile

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