I have learned something about adjective phrases and participle phrases.

We can't say:

The window open in the fourth floor is broken.

Because "open in the fourth floor" is not an adjective phrase.

But if we say:

The country developed in 1990s is my hometown

Here it means the country became a developed country or just made some progress?

Because if the participle is the predicative, I'm not sure if it should follow the same rule as the adjective does. "Be developed in 1990s" is not an adjective phrase, right?

  • open in the fourth floor is an adjectival phrase, modifying The window. It would be better with that is preceding the phrase, though. Aug 15, 2016 at 21:46
  • A country can not be a hometown... "hometowns" specifically require city names. "Seattle is my hometown"... Never "The United States is my hometown".
    – Catija
    Aug 15, 2016 at 21:59
  • We generally say open on the fourth floor, but sure, you can say that. Adjectives can take complements and locative adjuncts just as nouns and verbs can. Moreover, a participle is an adjective. It is also a verb. At the same time. Aug 15, 2016 at 22:21
  • But open on the fouth floor is an adjective phrase?
    – moyeea
    Aug 15, 2016 at 22:38
  • It is both an adjective phrase (it's head is the adjective open) and an adjectival phrase (a phrase acting syntactically as an adjective: modifying a noun). Granted, open and on the fourth floor don't have to constitute a single phrase; as written it implies that on the fourth floor is where the window is open, but the open window on the fourth floor has two adjective phrases modifying window, open and on the fourth floor. Aug 15, 2016 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


You're sort of correct. "in the fourth floor" is not an adjectival phrase.

"In the fourth floor", however, is an adverbial phrase. It modifies the adjective "open." You absolutely can say that correctly, and "open on the fourth floor" is absolutely a valid adjectival phrase. It consists of an adjective and an adverbial phrase.

However, the preposition more commonly used with "on the X floor" is "on."

"The country developed in (the) 1990's" again has an adverbial phrase that begins with "in."

"The" is correct before 1990's because 1990's is a proper, count noun. Ask yourself "how many 90's are there?"

If the answer is one, use "the".

If the answer is many, use "a".

If the answer is "that makes no sense, you can't count this thing," use no article before the word.

Edit: Transcription error, and then I wrote it in a confusing way. Corrected with the help of the below.

  • See commentary above—your first sentence is incorrect here. open in the fourth floor is an adjectival phrase. It modifies the noun window. It is also an adjective phrase with open at its head. Aug 16, 2016 at 0:18
  • This is in the first place incorrect because the phrase "in the fourth floor" modifies "open", an adjective. Serving to modify an adjective makes it by definition an adverbial phrase. Second, your distinction between the meaning of Adjective and Adjectival is not attested to in Strunk and White or the Oxford English Grammar, and a quick Google search gives it no sources. I don't believe the distinction you attempt to make exists. Aug 16, 2016 at 0:34
  • See link. Aug 16, 2016 at 0:38
  • First, that's an unsourced portion of a wikipedia article. Second, even if that distinction is real, "in the fourth floor" still is a phrase that is functioning as an adverb, not an adjective. Adverbs modify adjectives, not other adjectives. Aug 16, 2016 at 0:44
  • Further recommended reading is here. Don't know why you can't find these, when I can! Certainly in the fourth floor modifies the adjective open. The sole error is in the first statement, as @StoneyB would concur if he were interested. If you have need of an entertaining colloquy, I suggest that you engage him in the commentary above. (I'll bring the popcorn.) Aug 16, 2016 at 1:56

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