Is it that time again? <<sighs and assumes a pedagogical expression>>.
It is one, Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV, freshly returned from the inspirational home of Calliope and Clio, Melpomene and Erato, where one walked in the very footsteps of those fair daughters of the gods. One is, of course, already well known to you as the author of the superlative science fantasy classic “Fatswhistle and Buchtooth” which has received plaudits from many unexpected quarters and dismissals from the usual suspects.
Being still in the post-prandial glow from many wonderful Greek meals and replete with sun, sex and ouzo, one is not, if truth be told, even remotely in the mood for imparting knowledge to the willfully ill-educated. Therefore it behaves one’s estudas to sit quietly and absorb today’s pearls of wisdom without any of the primitive rowdyism, behind-hand giggling or ink pellet flicking which seems to have become a feature of our weekly learning curves.
And do not play with that thing in my presence. Naughty step at once.
<<places malacca cane prominently on desk>>
Now, to today’s lesson.
How to Write Right – The Write Adjective
I am, quite simply, unable to believe my ears. How many of you do not know what an adjective is? A show of hands please. And those of you who do know have no excuse whatever for looking smug. At least half of you had only the vaguest knowledge of what a noun was a few weeks ago…
So to explain. An adjective describes what a noun is like.
Now nobody knows what a noun is!
A Noun Is The Word For A Thing. Thus. Dog. Book. Bedroom. Boyfriend.
Not walk, read, retire or spank.
So. In the following sentence, the noun is ‘sky’ and the adjective is ‘blue’.
Today the sky is blue.
This is a perfectly acceptable sentence but how plain and unadorned. What is there for the reader to clasp to their intellectual bosom and feed the inner hunger of their imagination?
Today the sky is aquamarine.
See how already the word-painting is beginning to add subtle touches to the inner vision it conjures? But, if one, sole, more decorative adjective can lift the sentence a little, imagine how much more can be achieved with a second? or a third?
Today the broad, pearlescent sky is purest aquamarine.
Ah! You see? So much better that is. So when you need to describe a noun, reach for your thesaurus and lavishly adorn it with such glorious gems of the English language.
Here are some common adjectives alongside their more expressive brethren:
Blue – aquamarine, azure, cerulean, navy, sapphire, oceanic.
Green – viridescent, grasslike, emerald, glaucus, verdurous.
Soft – silken, squashy, downy, velvety, fluffywuffy.
Hard – adamantine, stern, stiff, rigid, flinty, phallic.
Nice – kindly, delightful, gratifying, satisfying, friendypoose.
Nasty – beastly, foul, ghastly, mephitic, studentesque.
Old – tattered, bewrinkled, archaic, hoary, senescent, Mumsical.
Young – smooth, vigorous, fresh, spry, virile, Greek-godly.
Tasty – delicious, mouthwatering, ambrosial, luscious, seductive, Stavrosian.
Tasteless – bland, untoothsome, pallid, frigid, the Tabloid press.
Now you must surely begin to understand the complexity of the adjective and why each must be delicately nurtured and placed with as much exquisite care as a jeweller setting gems in a tiara.
For today’s homework, I would like to see a list of ten common adjectives with more descriptive alternatives.
Class dismissed, please leave quietly. Your beloved tutor suffers the pangs of an ouzo-fuelled migraine.
And NEVER mix ouzo with Babycham…
Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV
You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.