Posted by R. Berg on December 08, 2001

In Reply to: Criticism posted by The Critic on December 07, 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.

: : : : : : : : : : thanks for your speedy response if you are correct in your asumption then I am not too sure that my critic is justified but judge for yourself at [Dead link removed - ed]
: : : : : : : : : : thanks

: : : : : : : : : Looks like "strong, active verbs" and "vivid, colorful nouns" to me. Good job. Seriously. One thing, it should be "half moon's" -- possessive.

: : : : : : : : half moon's it is

: : : : : : : and passion's heat --possessive?

: : : : : : Right you are. I missed that.

: : : : : Want another opinion? There aren't too many modifiers. I have a problem with the fractions, though: cannot reconcile half moon with quarter light. I visualize geometric shapes that don't go together.

: : : : Thanks for having a look although I think that you are taking my words a little bit too literally - the thinking was if it was a full moon then half-light, well you get the idea.

: : : Isn't a 'Quarter Light' a type of window? I do find the notion of a few lines of mediocre verse being classified as 'work' a bit OTT ('Over The Top' excessive or even pretentious) - sounds more like an offering to me.

: : In a writers' workshop, spitting a fireball like that would earn any member an exemption from the privilege of attending.

: Workshops are places where tangible things, things you can get your hands around, are manufactured, assembled or fettled. The airy-fairy notion that a bunch of gossiping time wasters should ennoble their pointless activities with the honourable name of 'workshop' makes me want to puke in disgust.

Yes, I'm getting the impression that many aspects of the world have that effect on you. That's lamentable. Appreciation or even indifference feels better than nausea. In any event, such gatherings are conventionally called workshops--I didn't make up their name--and genuine literary criticism is something apart from ordinary rudeness.