What are denominal adjectives?
Denominal adjectives (sometimes called denominal adjectives) are adjectives derived from nouns. For example:
- A mathematical puzzle. (a puzzle based on mathematics)
- A biological experiment. (an experiment in biology)
- A wooden boat. (a boat made of wood)
Proper adjectives are derived from proper nouns. They commonly describe something in terms of nationality, religious affiliation, or culture. Like proper nouns, proper adjectives have their first letter capitalized. For example:
- I married a Russian woman.
- The Jewish community in NY is very large.
Adjectives of this type should be carefully distinguished from adjectives denoting nationalities (nominal adjectives). For example:
- Denominal Adjective: The French people are noted for their wines.
- Nominal Adjective: The French are noted for their wines.
- Denominal Adjective: The poor people are more vulnerable.
- Nominal Adjective: The poor are getting poorer.
Examples of denominal adjectives
- A mathematical puzzle.
- A biological experiment.
- A wooden boat.
- I married an American woman.
- The Jewish community in NY is very big.
- Mary has a collection of expensive Russian dolls.
- In the winter you must wear heavy woolen clothes.
- The polar bear is listed as threatened.
Denominal adjective exercises
- We worked on our homework all evening.
- We spent the evening working on our English homework.
- We felt sad about using the evening to do our homework.
Answer: B. We spent the evening working on our English homework.
- London is noted for its many museums and monuments.
- London is noted for its art museums and monuments.
- The Japanese embassy is nearby.
- The embassy of Japan is nearby.
- I gave him a wooden walking stick.
- He needs to use a walking stick.
- tidal wave
- screen door
- 10-month-old baby
- bunny rabbit
- junior high
- wooden boat
- killer bees
- weird science
- oh, fudge!
Answers: A, C, A
- The sun had a cold, _____________ gleam.
Answers: metallic, leisurely, hourly
- The Japanese are noted for their sushi.
- The Japanese people are noted for their sushi.
- He is English, but he married a Russian.
- He is an Englishman, but he married a Russian woman.
- New York is home to many nationalities; for example, there are many Puerto Ricans living there.
- New York is a melting pot of nationalities; for example, there are many Puerto Rican people living there.
- orderly, order, port
- masterly, orderly, cowardly
- cowardly, orderly, order
- The dining room was comfortably appointed.
- She rowed across the Atlantic in a wooden dinghy.
- His grandfather was a carpenter of talent.
- Armenian, Indian, American
- museum, clothing, party
- restaurant, wooden, shindig
- His favorite dessert is German chocolate cake.
- She is a long-standing member of the Democratic party.
- We met some interesting Romanian people on the train.
Answer: A: German B: Democratic C: Romanian
- The Queen had rosy cheeks.
- We enjoyed the finest Greek goat cheese available.
- They lived in a brick house.
- We went to Paris for our yearly vacation.
- My grandfather is a member of the British parliament.
- rosy, not proper
- Greek, proper
- brick, not proper
- yearly, not proper
- British, proper