By including pieces of cloth, newspaper, wallpaper, and other materials in his work, the innovative Picasso was an important influence on twentieth-century art.

How is using "the innovative Picasso" correct here? Can adjectives be added just after the introductory clause ends, i.e. "the innovative" after the comma and before Picasso in this sentence.

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    I don't have a clear rule for this, though it sounds perfectly acceptable to me. This reminds me of the name The Great D'Anton in The Prestige (2006). Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 7:56
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    That's a absolutely valid use. Consider: Alexander the Great.
    – Kinzle B
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


What a delightful question! The inquisitive Random Codemonkey has spotted another curious grammatical construct.

Yes, there is precedent for this wording. There's nothing wrong with putting an adjective (or two) right before a noun, and an introductory clause in front of those words won't change this. For example:

Visible through the early mist, the grand white hotel gleamed in the morning light.

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I wonder if that sentence seems as awkward as the one you found. If not, then perhaps it's the use of an adjective before a person's name that's throwing you off? If so, then be assured – it's perfectly normal. In fact, here's another example of that being done; it's an excerpt from a theater review:

Mincks is charismatic as the eccentric Einstein, and Bechard's intense Picasso shows a great artist in the process of self-discovery.

By the way, if you're wondering whether intense refers to Picasso's character or yo Bechard's portrayal of that character, then congratulations! The sentence is a bit ambiguous in that regard, and either interpretation could be applied. (Perhaps the "right" meaning would be more obvious if I had seen the play.)

Here's another example from a 2012 children's biography:

Over the years that followed, the United States Patent Office would grant the innovative Edison a total of 1,093 patents.

We could easily rewrite that so that the adjective-name combination followed the introductory clause:

Over the years that followed, the innovative Edison earned a total of 1,093 patents from the United States Patent Office.

  • A lucid explanation and loved the way you framed the answer.Thanks mate! Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 14:22

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