January 18, 2004

C'mere, pedantic

Ryan Gabbard at The Audhumlan Conspiracy has asked for help in figuring out "when [it is] grammatical to call someone by an adjective." He says

These all sound fine to me: Come here

But these sound horrible: "Come here

My judgments are the same. The context is a discussion of the proper way to address a solicitor general.

The set of adjectives that work in T-shirt phrases like "I'm with stupid" seems to be similar. There's also the question of which adjectives can be used as nicknames, like "Slim", "Red", and so on -- these can of course also be used as vocatives.

Posted by Mark Liberman at January 18, 2004 08:28 AM