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We usually put the adjective before the noun, as in "a big apple". How about this case?

  • I ate a bigger apple than Tom's.

  • I ate an apple bigger than Tom's.

Are they both grammatically correct? How about the case below?

  • I ate as big an apple as Tom's.

  • I ate an apple as big as Tom's.

Are they both grammatically correct? How about this case?

  • The experiment showed a similar result to the previous one.

  • The experiment showed a result similar to the previous one.

Are there any specific rules about when you can put the adjective after a noun?

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  • I don't like any of those possessive pronouns. Note that the first example is "reduced" from the "full" form I ate a bigger apple than the apple that Tom ate (or from the "intermediate" form ...than Tom ate, discarding just the predictably-repeated noun itself). Mar 8 at 12:57
  • OK. I don't care if it's a possessive pronoun or a clause. I ate a bigger apple than the the apple that Tom ate. I ate an apple bigger than the the apple that Tom ate. Are they both fine? How about the other example sentences, "as big as" and "similar to"?
    – kuwabara
    Mar 8 at 12:59
  • The "adjectival phrase" is similar to the previous one, not just the word similar. Idiomatically we usually put lengthy adjectival phrases after the noun they modify, as per this chart. So that should be your default phrasing - a result similar to the previous one is an acceptable "stylistic inversion", but that can't be idiomatically resequenced to a "similar to the previous one" result (except facetiously). Mar 8 at 13:06
  • Why do those who don't know what it's like learning English persist in downvoting good questions?
    – Lambie
    Mar 8 at 19:20
  • I think the key point is "we usually put the adjective first." To do otherwise is not "grammatically incorrect," just less common. With these adjectives of comparison, even "I ate an apple bigger than Tom's" is quite imaginable, if not as likely. But "I drive a car red" is not. Mar 8 at 19:24

1 Answer 1

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There is no difference in meaning, but there is a difference in emphasis. Is the important point that you ate an apple [I ate an apple ...], and the fact that it was bigger is extra information, or do you want to emphasise that your apple was bigger [I ate a bigger apple ...].

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