Literary Discourse: Use of Adjectives to Avoid Verbosity

Literary Discourse: Use of Adjectives to Avoid Verbosity
Source: Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo | Lecturer, University of Applied Management, Germany - Ghana Campus, McCarthy Hill, Accra
Date: 13-07-2016 Time: 04:07:01:pm


Mostly, verbosity arises in our attempt to elaborate or paint a clear picture. Elaboration itself largely depends on the use of modifiers. Sometimes, we seem to be more mindful of the content (of expression) than the grammatical accuracy of construction. And the result of this malpractice is verbosity and other grammatical injuries.

Colleague learner, here is a secret: the appropriate use of an adjective can avoid verbosity. Consider the following illustrative sentences:

* Never offer a nonentity UNDUE public recognition which he or she does not deserve.

* Deeshini lives in a COMFORTABLE house where he is always happy.


It is instructive to note that both of the sentences contain elements of verbosity. They are the flowing relative adjectival clauses:

* "which he does not deserve." (First sentence).

* where he is always happy." (Second sentence).

In the first sentence, the relative adjectival clause is unnecessary because of the adjective UNDUE. Indeed, if the recognition is UNDUE, it equally implies that "he does not need it."

In the second sentence, the relative adjectival clause is needless because of the adjective COMFORTABLE. Obviously,  if the house of Deeshini is COMFORTABLE, it means "he is happy" there. To avoid verbosity, therefore, we may revise the sentences as follows:

*  Never offer a nonentity UNDUE public recognition.

* Deeshini lives in a COMFORTABLE house.

Dear reader, in the revised sentences it is obvious that the accurate use of the adjectives avoids the elements of verbosity. However, one may decide to use the clause modifiers instead of the adjectives. Examples:

* Never offer a nonentity public recognition WHICH HE OR SHE DOES NOT DESERVE.

* Deeshini lives in a house WHERE HE IS ALWAYS HAPPY.


To use the clause modifiers or adjectives in this and related contexts is a matter of choice. But the preference of LITERARY DISCOURSE is the use of adjectives to avoid verbosity and clumsiness in all contexts.

Allah is the Best Linguist.


Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo is Lecturer at the University of Applied Management - Germany, Ghana Campus MacCarthy Hill, Accra


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