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Hi,

I have a question wrt the positioning of adjectives and participles. Consider this example:

I helped my brother with the preparations for his party. I did all the things necessary.

Is the last one correct? Shouldn't it be "I did all the necessary things"? I thought that you can put the adjective behind the noun if something follows as in

I did all the things necessary to prepare for the party.

Same question applies to verbs:

When we were preparing food for the party, he asked me whether I had done all the things planned.

Is that one correct? Shouldn't it be "all the planned things"? Again, I can understand the position of the verb if you put "all the things planned in advance".

Paul
Comments  
"Necessary things" is just a garden variety noun with an adjective in front of it.

"Things necessary," to my ear, implies a relative clause, whether or not there are additional modifiers for "necessary." "These are the things [which are] necessary." "These are the things [which are] necessary for a successful outing."

I think everything here is correct.

I confess I don't see how your second category ("verbs") differs from your first. "Planned things" is just unfortunate and unnatural, but I think it's grammatical. "Planned pregnancy" is quite common. But I've never heard "pregnancy planned" without the relative clause. "This was not a pregnancy [which was] planned."

I have an example on the tip of my tongue similar to "pregnancy planned," which sounds ugly and yet is the preferred form. It keeps escaping me! (Maybe it's a legal term.)

Someone must have some rules which explain why sometimes the noun sounds better following, and other times sounds better preceding.

- A.

Edit. Sorry, I missed "applies to verbs" = "applies to participles."
AvangiSomeone must have some rules which explain why sometimes the noun sounds better following, and other times sounds better preceding.


I don't think there are any rules for that, Avangi. English just is a language of fixed collocations. By the way, I know that a native member of these forums considers it incorrect to leave out a relative pronoun if it's the grammatical subject of the relative clause. This means he either considers the original sentences wrong or he has an explanation [that is] different from yours.

CB
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paul_hpositioning of adjectives and participles ... put the adjective behind the noun if something follows ...
That's generally the way it works. If the adjective (or participle) has a complement, you have to place the group after the noun. You can't place the whole group before the noun. The simple adjective goes to the left of the noun.

people crazy about cars Not: crazy about cars people
crazy people Not: people crazy
a device useful for polishing shoes Not: a useful for polishing shoes device
a useful device Not: a device useful
a nation thankful for peace Not: a thankful for peace nation
a thankful nation Not: a nation thankful
___

Nevertheless, indefinite pronouns take adjectives on the right:
everything useful, nobody crazy, someone thankful
It seems to me that an expression like all the things is sufficiently like everything to allow all the things necessary. Personally I would have written everything necessary.
The same patterns apply to participles.
something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
a borrowed hat Not: a hat borrowed
a hat borrowed from a friend Not: a borrowed from a friend hat
____
I suspect there's more to it than I have outlined above, because I believe there are cases where the patterns above are not observed.
CJ
The reverse order (without modifiers) may have been more common in the past. I'm thinking, for example, of the expression "cause certain," which is retained as a legal term. Today, if we say "a certain cause," we probably mean, "a particular cause," while "a cause certain" continues to mean "an unquestionable cause," or "a clear cause."

There may be some influence from other Romance languages in which the adjective tends to follow the noun, If I'm not mistaken.
"a device useful for polishing shoes Not: a useful for polishing shoes device" - CalifJim

In BE we'd be more likely to say:

a useful device for polishing shoes - suggests that the device was designed for this purpose.
a device useful for polishing shoes suggests that the device had a different primary purpose, maybe as a doorstop, but is also useful for polishing shoes.
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Thomas,
Yes. I thought about that when I wrote it. Emotion: sad But I wasn't illustrating those differences at the time.
Can you suggest a different example that doesn't have the unfortunate side-effect of distracting attention from the point being illustrated? Maybe I can go back and substitute a better example into that post. Emotion: smile

CJ