I assumed it's a complement like this:

But it seems like the only adjectives that can replace 'same' are numbers.

  • two-day delivery
  • *good-day delivery

So what's going on here? What do you call the class of words that 'same' is part of in that sentence?

I'm not even sure if 'same' is truly "just" an A, since you can't say "*that day is same", or "*I have a same dog", almost as if it's part of the DP in some phrases

  • this same dog
  • the same dog
  • the same green dog
  • *the green same dog
  • *green same dog
  • I think it's working more or less like a reflexive pronoun. A fuller expansion of the statement might be: The delivery day is the same day as you ordered, which might help you see, that it is referring back to the original word. May 14, 2017 at 2:58
  • 2
    You can also say "next-day delivery", so it is not only numbers that work.
    – fdb
    May 14, 2017 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


“Same-day” is a compound, more precisely: an exocentric compound, or bahuvrihi, “a delivery whose day is the same”. The compound is formed from an adjective “same” and a noun “day”, but in this phrase “same” does not function as an adjective but as part of a compound. For the purposes of syntax “same-day” is a single word, not two.

  • Surely buhavri compounds in English mostly denote kinds of people and are generally derogatory such as "birdbrain", "loudmouth", "skinhead" and the like. I'd call "same-day" a compound, but more specifically a nonce-form functioning as an adjective.
    – BillJ
    May 15, 2017 at 19:11

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