# Is it correct to say that any adjective consisting of "number + noun" cannot be used predicatively? E.g.: "The waist is thirty-inch" is unnatural

my conclusion from an answer on ell.stackexchange.com:

(1a) It is a five-story building. — natural
(1b) The building is five-story. — unnatural
(2a) It is a five-person tent. — natural
(2b) The tent is five-person. — unnatural
(3a) It is a four-core processor. — natural
(3b) The processor is four-core. — unnatural

Can I infer that any adjective consisting of "number + noun" cannot be used predicatively?

my examples:
(4a) It is a thirty-percent increase. — natural
(4b) The increase is thirty-percent. — unnatural
(5a) It is a thirty-inch waist. — natural
(5b) The waist is thirty-inch. — unnatural
(6a) It is a thousand-dollar profit. — natural
(6b) The profit is thousand-dollar. — unnatural

Am I right that (4b), (5b) and (6b) are unnatural?

• Yes, you are right. If you wanted to put the noun first you would have to tweak the sentence - The increase is one of thirty percent. His waist was thirty inches round. Commented Jul 24 at 7:52
• Your sentence (4b) is the closest, as it would be acceptable if the hyphen were removed. None of the others would though. Commented Jul 24 at 8:09

Yes. The number-hyphen-unit form is only used when the entire construction comes before a noun, not in the predicate.

For example, you can say, "This is a 12-inch ruler." But you would NOT say, "This ruler is 12-inch". You would say, "This ruler is 12 inches." Just drop the hyphen and, if the number is not 1, make the unit plural.

(Well, some units don't take plural, like "percent". So you would say, "The increase is 30 percent.")

• Among the OP's examples, only 4b can be fixed by simply dropping the hyphens. For example, I'd say "the processor has four cores" rather than "the processor is four cores", "this ruler is 12 inches long" rather than "this ruler is 12 inches", "this play contains 3 acts" rather than "this play is 3 acts", "this hotel is rated 4 stars" rather than "this hotel is 4 stars", "the ban is for 5 years" rather than "the ban is 5 years". Commented Jul 24 at 9:26
• @ryang It's better style to use words more specific than "is", like, as you say, "The ruler is 12 inches long". But "The ruler is 12 inches" is a very common thing for people to say and totally comprehensible. Obviously it's 12 inches long and not 12 inches loud or 12 inches in color.
– Jay
Commented Jul 24 at 11:34
• It's not about being specific nor about merely substituting "is" with a phrase. In any case, informally, I find "this ruler is 12 inches" more acceptable than "this play is 3 acts" (as opposed to "this play is in 3 acts"). Commented Jul 24 at 13:07
• Sometimes, informally, an `-er` suffix may be added to a unit; I don't know any rules about when native speakers would find such usage natural, but it's probably worthwhile to recognize it if one encounters it. E.g. "Which kind of fuse do you need? A fifteen amper". Commented Jul 24 at 21:55

I assume you got this from me on your earlier question?

The building is five storeys.
The profit is a thousand dollars.

Those are countable nouns.

Also, many times it's have, not is:

• The processor has four cores. [countable noun]
• He has a thirty-inch waist. [attributive noun as adjective]
• Her waist is or measures thirty inches. [noun]

One use is adjectival (attributive noun) and the other is as a countable noun.

• The increase is thirty percent. is fine because percent preceded by a number is invariable. There can only be one thirty percent in any situation.

Totally unrelated to the question but it is "storey" not "story". I'm surprised at how often this is being incorrectly used.

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