This apple is good one.

I know an adjective can be placed before a noun, as in the sentence above.

I drove my truck along a dirt road a mile deep in the New Hampshire woods.

But in this sentence,"a mile" is a noun, and "deep" is an adjective.

Is it grammatically correct?

I think its original form is:

I drove my truck along a dirt road (where is) a mile deep in the New Hampshire woods.

Is that correct, too?

P.S. I have studied English for 10 years, mainly reading and listening for playing English video games, but never tried writing. Now I'm learning writing. The rule here says it is for experts. I'm not an expert so let me know if it is against the rule.

  • A noun phrase can modify an adjective: "a mile deep" is an adjective phrase with the adjective "deep" as head and the noun phrase "a mile" as its modifier. The adjective phrase is then a post-head modifier of the noun "road".
    – BillJ
    Apr 10, 2018 at 13:56
  • Of course you can have an adjective after a noun in a sentence like "These are the sorts of acorns red squirrels like." Your question more specifically ought to be "Can an adjective be placed after the noun it modifies?" In your sentence, "deep" doesn't qualify "a mile", but the reverse. I drove my truck where? Deep in the NH woods. How deep? A mile deep. Apr 10, 2018 at 14:24
  • Having said that, there are fixed phrases, borrowings from other languages, with adjectives following the nouns they modify, as in attorney general, court martial, and queen consort. Apr 10, 2018 at 14:29
  • @EnglishLegends In your example, the noun "road" is postmodified by the adjective phrase "a mile deep". There are also a few single adjectives that can occur postpositively, for example "the only day suitable"; "proof positive"; "matters financial"; "all things Irish", "the people present", "the cars involved", "the students concerned", "the city proper". They can also occur attributively, though the last four with a difference in sense.
    – BillJ
    Apr 10, 2018 at 16:49
  • Bill you could be right, but I think that we're being told that the speaker drove a mile deep in the woods on that road, not that the road ended after a mile. Apr 11, 2018 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


Adjectives most often come before the noun they describe, but they can be placed after the noun as explained in this article [Extracts]:

[1] Some adjectives ending in -able/-ible can also be used after nouns [example:]

It is the only solution possible.

Book all the tickets available [...]

[2] Adjectives come after words like something, everything, anything, nothing, somebody, anywhere etc.

I would like to go somewhere quiet.

I heard something interesting today [...]

[3] In most expressions of measurement adjectives come after the measurement noun.

ten years older

six feet deep

two miles long [...]

[4] Verb + object + adjective

Adjectives can be placed after the object.

You make me happy.

Can you get the children ready for school?

Source: https://www.englishgrammar.org/attributive-adjectives-nouns/

In addition, the adjective may be placed after the noun in poetic or literary constructions not usually seen in ordinary English, as in

Sedately sits the miller stout,

Watching the village roundabout

[Piece of a poem: here "the miller stout" means the stout (fat) miller and "stout" is the adjective coming after the noun so that "miller stout" can rhyme with "roundabout": this is an example of poetic license]

This can also occur in some idioms:

For the US Team at this Olympics, the gold medal proved a bridge too far (or a hurdle too high)

[Here "a bridge too far" and "a hurdle too high" are idioms that mean "a task too difficult to achieve" where the adjectival phrase "too far"/ "too high" comes after the noun.]

In your example, "A mile deep" acts as an adjectival phrase: it describes the noun phrase "dirt road." That is partly why "deep" comes after "mile". In fact "mile" is not a noun in this particular situation: it is used as an adverb to give a "measure" of the adjective "deep" and describe "how deep" the dirt road is:

How deep is the dirt road?

It is a mile deep.

Note: here "a mile deep" means the road goes a distance of one mile into the forest. That is like 1.6 kilometres.


The short answer is, yes, the sentence is correct, for the reasons given in the comments and the answer above.

Your speculation on the underlying form is not correct. It would be correct to write, "I drove my truck along a dirt road which was a mile deep in the New Hampshire woods." The verb should be in past tense to match the tense of the word 'drove'.

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