Mono- or multi-valent (usually bi-valent) adjectives appear as nominal post-modifiers in there sentences, and they can be either simple or compound in form.
... there were thousands of people homeless. (Guardian 23 July 75, 6: 8)The mono-valent adjectives occurring in there sentences describe temporary properties of the subject, i.e. properties that belong to it for a limited time, and are not among its intrinsic features. This group contains, among others, amiss, available, delectable, devoted, evident, free, going ("available"), intact, interested, missing, present, responsible and short ("lacking").
I could sense that there was something amiss and I thought I’d better wing it. (Naughton, Darling: 19)If simple adjectives appear in there sentences as post-modifiers, they occur immediately after a subject. Bolinger has pointed out in many publications (e.g. Bolinger 1952: 1132-1137, 1967: 9-12) that this positional option, which he calls the post-adjunct position, is available for adjectives describing a temporary state:
"If an adjective names a quality that is too fleeting to characterize anything, it is restricted (with that meaning) to predicative, or to postadjunct position." (Bolinger 1967: 9)No agreement has been reached in the literature on whether the third possible position for adjectives, called the attributive, (as distinct from the post-nominal and predicative positions) always indicates intrinsic characteristics. Temporary adjectives are found in there sentences because of their semantic compatibility with the meaning of the post-nominal syntagm in which they appear. Adjectives like arrogant, good and old describing permanent traits, and those such as absent, handy and sick which describe temporary states, are given a variety of different labels. There is reference to "essential" and "accidental" features of adjectives (Bolinger 1972a), to their "characteristic meaning" and "occasional meaning" (Bolinger 1967: 3-4), to "property predicates" and "state-descriptive predicates" (Milsark 1977: 10-16), and to "permanent/ essential attributes" and "impermanent/ non-essential attributes" (Nathan 1979: 56 f). James (1979) dislikes the contrast "permanent versus temporary", because this terminology is inappropriate for the underlying semantic facts. Adjectives in the post-nominal position can indeed describe permanent attributes, as shown by the following example (James 1979: 700):
(As a result of the accident, one man is dead).For James, the semantic peculiarity of the post-nominal adjective resides more in the fact that it "denotes an easily changeable state of affairs, i.e. an event or state which can be suddenly acquired and/ or lost." (James 1979: 688). She sees the sudden alteration of a state or the possibility of an abrupt change in the state of the noun as the decisive factor. For a review of some of the generative literature see Lumsden 1988: chapter 5.
Bi-valent adjectives for their part can be post-modified, for example by a prepositional complement, as with acceptable to, common to, full of, glad to, suitable for, terrible about.
... there was no other place acceptable to the reality of their feelings in the world around them. (Spark, Gate: 104)
There was a small lounge full of basket chairs in which elderly Englishwomen sat sewing. (Waugh, Going: 15)Some of the above cases occur as mono- and bi-valent adjectives. Some other examples are: different (from), open (to), ready (f or/ to) and wrong (about/ in/ with).
"There's a duty chemist open -" (Sands, Sam: 22)The bi-valency of adjectives otherwise results from comparative structures. As far as content is concerned, they are mostly adjectives describing permanent attributes. These include attractive, dead, easy, hot, lovely, pretty and sympathetic.
There is nothing so dangerous as a policy of laisser-aller... (Milford, Blessing: 88)The fact that adjectives describing permanent characteristics appear in comparative constructions in there sentences results from the syntagmatic possibilities of comparative expressions like as dead as a doornail, hotter than..., less pretty than..., which occur in the predicative and post-nominal positions, but not in attributive position.