Posted by ESC on December 05, 2001
In Reply to: Pardon my ignorance posted by capable wingnut on December 05, 2001
: Just wrote a poem and some dude dished it for bein. full of modifiers - I can speak English, write English(just about) and understand English but what the heck is a modifier?
This is really a question for R. Berg. But I'll take a crack at answering your question. A modifier is "a word or group of words that limits or qualifies the meaning of another word or group of words. In 'a very tight coat,' the adjective 'tight' is a modifier of 'coat' and the adverb 'very' is a modifier of tight.'" (World Book Dictionary) That sounds like words that describe other words to me. Anyway "Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay (and that's no lie): Practical Advice for the Grammatically Challenged" by Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis has this to say about the use of modifiers: "Use Modifiers Sparingly -- The writer who chooses strong, active verbs and vivid, colorful nouns has less need for adverbs and adjectives. Carefully chosen and sparingly used, adjectives and adverbs can serve a writer well. But they should be considered guilty until proven innocent -- guilty of making writing fat and sluggish."
Don't get discouraged. Keep on writing.