Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[language] Parts of speech confusion

O mighty LJ brain, hear my plea. I have confused myself anent matters grammatical.

There’s a construction in English whereby nouns convert to adjectives through being modified with an /-ed/ affix, as if they were verbs being conjugated into the simple past. For example:

one eyed
lop eared
left handed
many splendored
fruited plains
strait jacketed

Most of the examples I can think of are related to body parts or clothing, but not all of them. Some examples can be explained as verb forms (”strait jacketed”), but, for example, I can’t make “lop eared” be a verb in my head.

Why are we conjugating nouns into adjectives? Can someone give me the remedial grammar 101 on this?

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

Tags: language
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