This is a compilation of my comments posted on the Grammar and Style course‘s week 5 discussion boards.

Effective adjective use is an important mark of a good writer. I don’t know if it’s the most important mark of a good writer, but I understand why Ben Yagoda would suggest that. Adjectives add creativity and clarity to a sentence. Knowing their proper placement is also knowing proper sentence form.

Vladimir Nabokov is one of my favorite writers because his adjectives are evocative. Below is part of a poem from Lolita. In it, Nabokov repeats “wanted” and does the same with other adjectives in the poem, in order to maintain the sing-songy, almost childish, rhythm. In the poem, Lolita is condensed into exact numbers and colors, indicative of his obsession with her.

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Hair: brown. Lips: scarlet.
Age: five thousand three hundred days.
Profession: none, or “starlet”

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Her dream-gray gaze never flinches.
Ninety pounds is all she weighs
With a height of sixty inches.

(Image from DTTSP)

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