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"I never buy things new. Instead, I go to thrift stores and buy things used." Options
Saide María
Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 9:07:18 PM

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Joined: 3/5/2018
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Location: Bogotá, Bogota D.C., Colombia
Hi, everyone!

A colleague of mine found the following sentence in a textbook.

"I never buy things new. Instead, I go to thrift stores and buy things used."

As we are not native speakers of the language, we would like to know why is it ok to put the words "new" and "used" after the noun "things". We would really appreciate any explanation about that.
Breagha
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021 8:41:16 AM
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Location: Slagelse, Zealand, Denmark
I'm not sure, but it looks like the author uses 'buy' as a factitive verb -> https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Factitive-Verbs.htm.
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021 9:27:03 AM

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Because that's how people speak, sometimes, even if the wording is a bit clumsy. Life is about options.
The meaning is all the same.

I buy used.
I buy used tools.
I buy clothes previously worn.
I buy tools previously used.
I buy used tools and clothes.
I buy second-hand tools and clothes.
I buy second-hand.


Gary98
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021 11:16:19 AM

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"I never buy things new" is short for "I never buy things that are new", which is pedantic.
Saide María
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021 8:53:42 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 3/5/2018
Posts: 7
Neurons: 30,566
Location: Bogotá, Bogota D.C., Colombia
Thank you Breagha, Wilmar(USA)1M, and Gary98 for your answers.

Breagha,
I checked the information about factitive verbs and buy does not seem to be one of them.

Wilmar and Gary, thanks for the interesting explanations. However, I'm still not sure about the use of an adjective after a noun. Wouldn't it be easier to write, "I never buy new things."?The sentence in the book says, "I never buy things new". According to Gary, this will be a way not to sound pedantic, but I'm not sure if it is grammatically correct.

Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021 9:35:35 PM
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When we put the adjective after the noun in this way (a 'postpositive' adjective), we are contrasting it with some alternative possibility. For example:

I never buy things new. (I always buy them used.)
She eats carrots raw. (She does not eat them cooked.)
He swallowed the egg whole. (He did not swallow it in pieces.)
I like the water hot. (I do not like it cold or lukewarm.)

The emphasis is on the adjective rather than the noun.
Saide María
Posted: Friday, May 21, 2021 5:38:25 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 3/5/2018
Posts: 7
Neurons: 30,566
Location: Bogotá, Bogota D.C., Colombia
Thanks a lot, Audiendus!

Excellent explanation!

Now I understand! Applause
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