Grammar Basics Adjectives


It has been said that adjectives are like gravy. Nouns and verbs are the meat and potatoes of your manuscript, and you pour on the adjectives to add interesting tastes. But you have to be careful. They can add just the right flavor, but use too many and you can drown your manuscript the same way that too much gravy can drown your biscuits. Some people like to use lots of adjectives just like some folks like to coat their entire meal in savory gravy. Others like only a dribble with just enough to moisten the potatoes. One must be careful not to overturn the gravy boat, though, or you end up with runny goo splashing over the sides of your plate.


Adjectives describe nouns. In other words, they describe people, places, things, and ideas. The Romantics reveled in this often overdone part of speech. The Victorians carried on this tradition in a highly verbose manner. When we got to the Moderns (and even more so with the Post-Moderns), the adjective was almost a faux pas. There is no need to follow any hard-fast rules on this matter, but you do have to be careful with the adjective. Mashed potatoes can just be mashed potatoes, or they can be smothered in hot, thick, peppery, scrumptious gravy. One sounds a little plain. The other is drowning the crockery. It is best to find a happy medium. Adjectives add good flavor, but when you add another and another and almost another, then you run the risk of mixing too many flavors in your manuscript. Let your nouns and verbs be strong and bold. Let your adjectives add just the right amount of flavor to spice them up. But don’t overdo it, or you might just end up with a runny, gooey mess.

Almost Another Adjective
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