The documents is sixteenth century.=The documents is from the sixteenth century.

Why are both the sentences are same?? What is the syntax rule applied here?

  • 1
    The prepositionless version is using sixteenth century adjectivally, as in This is a sixteenth century document, or This is an old document (The document is old). It just so happens [the] sixteenth century can be used with a preposition as a noun, even though you can't do that with old. Jun 5, 2023 at 2:35
  • @FumbleFingers School bus =we can't say the bus is school.government policies =The policies is government. (Why so?)
    – Sam
    Jun 5, 2023 at 6:25
  • Bear in mind not everyone would accept prepositionless The document is sixteenth century in the first place (but obviously The document is old is fine). I'm not exactly sure why they're different, but the fact that the sixteenth century version is only "marginally valid" (to me, but not to everyone) might be significant. It may simply be that sixteenth century, school, government are all nouns (that can be used adjectivally as noun adjuncts), whereas old isn't a noun - it's an adjective, pure and simple. Jun 5, 2023 at 10:22
  • Look, I have already explained this to you at great length. So what exactly are you doing? I told you that when we say "X is y century", it means FROM that century. There is more than one way to say things. And I resent your taking my explanation and reposting it as a question.
    – Lambie
    Jun 5, 2023 at 18:07

1 Answer 1


"Sixteenth Century" is a noun when it is used as the name for a period of time. But like many nouns, it can be used as an adjective - for example, a 'history teacher' is a teacher of history and a 'bath towel' is a towel for use when taking a bath. Likewise, a 'sixteenth-century document' would be a document from the sixteenth century.

Lots of nouns for periods of time are used as adjectives: Roman artefacts, Victorian housing, Jurassic dinosaurs etc.

And just like any other adjective, you can use them at the end of a sentence. So, just as you could say "this is a Victorian house" or "this house is Victorian", you can also say "this is a sixteenth-century document" or "this document is sixteenth-century".


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