A Secret About Adjectives

The Free Cozy Grammar Newsletter with Marie Rackham and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

As the year draws to a close, we wanted to offer two video excerpts on adjectives. How to describe the delights of the season vividly and memorably? That's what both of our videos address. We also have a holiday gift to share. Read on to learn more!

Marie introduces the topic of adjectives in Lesson 12 of The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, using gifts from her international students to illustrate the 9 different kinds of adjectives. We focus here on the 3rd of these kinds, descriptive or qualitative adjectives:

Adjectives & Our Senses

Since we're entering the season of giving, I wanted to give you one of my writer's secrets about adjectives. There is a simple principle you can use to make your use of adjectives more effective, vivid, and memorable:

I hope you and your family will try the creative writing activity I suggest.

You might even try a special holiday variation. Take a memorable moment from the holidays, either from this year or from your memory, and do the same activity with that moment.

I think you'll make some delightful discoveries!

This Is Just To Say

Here's one more example of how adjectives that appeal to our different senses can make memorable writing.

In his poem "This Is Just To Say," William Carlos Williams uses simple language to apologize for having taken the plums that someone had stored in the icebox:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

By appealing to our senses of taste ("delicious" and "sweet") and touch ("cold"), Williams creates a particularly vivid portrait of plums.

It makes me want to make some plum pudding . . .

The Gift of Grammar

As I hope you've seen in this and other recent newsletters, knowledge of grammar can help to enhance our creativity and increase our understanding of writing and literature.

Marie always believed that rather than being a chore, grammar offers a gift to us. I believe that too. As I say in the introduction to The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, grammar teaches us the secret architecture of English:

Thanks for joining me this month. We'll see you again in 2019!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses