I have a guesthouse and I have a sign saying "available room". Someone told me better to say "room available" Why is this?

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    Signs are common to be written in short form with be verbs or generally function words dropped e.g. waitress wanted, evenings and weekends which is actually a waitress is wanted here in the evening and on the weekend, so room availabe is short for a room (to rent) is available. Available room is more like labeling a room (this is an available room) than a sign reading a room is available to rent.
    – Yuri
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:13
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    @Yuri - That's true, and a good point, but I'd say "room available" even if it wasn't on a sign, e.g., "I hear that you're looking for a place to stay, and it just so happens that I have a room available that you might like."
    – stangdon
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:29
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    I feel like this is idiomatic, meaning there is no reason for it. It's just "what people say". After all you wouldn't say to a hungry friend, "Here, I have a sandwich uneaten."
    – Andrew
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:31
  • @stangdon right, didn't see it that way as in There are plenty of jobs available in the area.. A good point. Thanks.
    – Yuri
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:35
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    Because available is a relatively uncommon adjective, it might help to compare I have an empty room next week with I have a room empty next week. Mar 1, 2017 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


This source makes a good classification of adjectives into attributive (premodifying the noun), postpositive (postmodifying the noun), and predicative (those which modify the subject being inside the predicate).

"available" is mentioned as a typically postpositive adjective and, in line with one of the comments above, it is used in that position because it is merely more idiomatic (the source says that postpositive adjectives "are normally found in a number of fixed expressions"). The adjective "available" is in fact usually found after the noun to which it refers: We have a room available / There is a room available.

  • "available equipment" is grammatical IMO. "available" does appear as an attributive modifier.
    – M.A.R.
    Mar 1, 2017 at 19:02
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    @M.A.R. Of course it is grammatical. The fact that it is more usually found in post-position does not mean it is incorrect or never found in attributive position. In the Corpus examples at the foot of this entry (ldoceonline.com/dictionary/available) there are a few examples of "available" in attributive position, but most of them are in post- or predicative position.
    – Gustavson
    Mar 1, 2017 at 19:06
  • Oh, I misread your answer. I thought you implied it's ungrammatical. Sorry.
    – M.A.R.
    Mar 1, 2017 at 19:07

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