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Dr Grammar

nowadays as an adjective

Posted by peter   17 Dec 2013 5 25 pm

Hi Alex,

While reviewing my writing, this question comes across in my mind:

Can "nowadays" be used as an adjective?

e.g. He has the potential to be a topmost leader in nowadays society.

Many Thanks!
Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   18 Dec 2013 8 48 am

Hi Peter,

In a word, no. 'Nowadays' is always an adverb. 'Modern' and 'contemporary' are appropriate adjectives that collocate with 'society'. 'Modern' is neutral in register; 'contemporary' is more formal.

While checking this to see if there were any others that had slipped my mind, I just found this rather nice collocations dictionary.

Alex
 
 
Posted by peter   18 Dec 2013 10 06 am

Many thanks! Alex.
Hope I won't make the same mistake again :)

And.. the dictionary is good too. I've been looking for way to learn and check collocations. This dictionary will be a great tool.

Peter
 
 
Posted by peter   19 Dec 2013 2 17 am

Hi Alex,

I would like to have a follow up question ...

As shown in Dictionary.com, "nowadays" can be used as a noun.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nowadays

So, I guess "nowadays society" can be considered as a compound noun (noun+noun) in the following sentence? (functioning as an adjective)?
e.g. He has the potential to be a topmost leader in nowadays society.

Peter
 
 
Posted by peter   19 Dec 2013 2 25 am

Hi Alex,

Here an example is found in BNC as a reference to my followup question:

http://bnc.bl.uk/saraWeb.php?qy=the+nowadays
e.g. "This argument is a necessary corrective to the nowadays fashionable view which..."

Thanks, Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   19 Dec 2013 8 10 am

Ah, but it's still an adverb here; it's modifying the adjective 'fashionable', not the noun 'view'. You couldn't remove the adjective and say, 'This argument is a necessary corrective to the nowadays view which...'

Adjectives modify nouns but adverbs modify adjectives:

an extremely important question
the formerly powerful ruler
a famously rude celebrity
a very interesting idea


As for your first point,nowadays as a noun, yes, it can be a noun but I've never seen it used as a compound. Nor does Dictionary.com give an example of it used in this way, although I dare say a grammatically-challenged journalist (of which there is no shortage) might try something of the kind. But the vast majority of us (ordinarily literate native speakers) would only consider it an error or a typo.

Btw, I've just read an e-book written by a native speaker that contains some kind of linguistic oddity every few hundred words. This comes from the ease of revising the wording of sentences when word processing, the danger of getting distracted while doing so, and an increasing slackness on the part of publishers with regard to editing. Just my opinion.


Alex
 
 
Posted by peter   19 Dec 2013 10 19 am

I see it now..

1. In nowadays society.. [incorrect]
2. In nowadays modern society ... [correct, it modifies "modern"]
3. The nowadays education system.. [incorrect]
4. The nowadays educational system.. [correct in grammar, but the meaning has changed from "education" to "educational"]
5. Nowadays, the education system.. [correct]

I think I've mixed it up with the usage of "today's"
e.g. In today's society [correct]
e.g. In nowadays society [incorrect]

Please don't mind I keep asking about "nowadays"... I need to correct my misconception that I have in mind for a long time... Thanks again.

Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   19 Dec 2013 11 56 am

Not quite.

There is some flexibility in the position of adverbs; it's quite a complex topic.

A nowadays fashionable view, a view fashionable nowadays and a view nowadays fashionable are all possible. The last two are reduced relative clauses: a view [that is] fashionable nowadays and a view [that is] nowadays fashionabe, the last of these showing the meaning in its most explicit form.

In modern society nowadays and nowadays in modern society are fine as are Nowadays, the education system and the education system nowadays. But not the nowadays educational system. We're not saying 'a system that is nowadays educational'.

Yes, today's society is fine.

I certainly don't mind answering questions. It's an interesting topic and exercises my mind. It's good that you are so thorough in sorting out your misunderstandings. Many learners just sweep them under the carpet and continue to make the same mistakes again and again.

Alex
 
 

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