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There is a kind of adjective, neither restrictive nor non-restrictive, that serves to contradict or moderate the applicability of the noun it modifies to the referent of the noun:

false teeth are not teeth
counterfeit money is not money
simulated leather is not leather
a quack surgeon is not a surgeon
a wannabe actor is either a non-actor or somebody barely qualified as an actor
potential energy is not energy

Is there a grammatical term for adjectives like these?
Comments  
The only term I'm familiar with for that type of adjective is "modalizing adjective".

CJ
CalifJimThe only term I'm familiar with for that type of adjective is "modalizing adjective".
That must be it. Thanks.
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On second thought, I don't know if modalizing is the right word. I found modal rather than modalizing, and that might apply to potential, but not the others. Do you have a source?
Introduction to Contemporary Linguistic Semantics, by George L. Dillon.

The index has an entry thus:

Adjectives:
...
modalizing, 60f.
...
____

And in the text on those pages, you find:

... a suspected murderer is not necessarily a murderer but rather 'one who is suspected of murder' or essentially 'one who some think is a murderer'. This type includes the phrase imitation gun ... as well as imaginary friend ... All of these "modalize" or limit the speaker's liability for attributing all of the properties associated with the noun to the referent.

The author says nothing else on the topic in the entire book.

CJ
CalifJim.. a suspected murderer is not necessarily a murderer but rather 'one who is suspected of murder' or essentially 'one who some think is a murderer'. This type includes the phrase imitation gun ... as well as imaginary friend ... All of these "modalize" or limit the speaker's liability for attributing all of the properties associated with the noun to the referent.
That is certainly what I was looking for, but modalize does not have much of a footprint on the web, with 19,000 search results, and hardly a dictionary definition. The fact that Dillon puts it in quotation marks suggests that it is a nonce word. But in the absence of a better, I'll go with it. Thanks.
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electrumbut modalize does not have much of a footprint on the web, with 19,000 search results, and hardly a dictionary definition.
I noticed the same thing. But I don't think there is really any other term that regularly designates that kind of adjective. You may as well adopt it as your own, given the lack of other candidates. Emotion: smile

CJ