What are "powerful adjectives"?

(65 Posts)
Hathor Tue 14-Oct-08 15:11:55

I know that adjectives are describing words, but what exactly are "powerful adjectives"?
I am sure we never had them when I was at school.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moomin Tue 14-Oct-08 15:14:30

describing words that are a bit more inventive I would imagine. It's not a technical term, as such; it's a suggestion for more effective language.

e.g. instead of the "blue sea" it might be described as the "unruly sea", etc.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 15:14:37

fucking? As in 'I'm fucking pissed off?'

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 15:15:13

Aah, I see we're talking homework. Maybe not appropriate...

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:15:40

the bath was hot
or the bath was scalding,

This cake is nice or this cake is delicious, scrumptious, delectable etc etc

sort of thing

childrenofthecornsilk Tue 14-Oct-08 15:15:50

Instead of 'the cat' it would be 'the bloody cat.'

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:16:24

so you could say happy, but powerful would be ecstatic, delighted, overjoyed etc

Hathor Tue 14-Oct-08 15:21:43

So, for example if I say "a big house"
"a big, cold house"
"an enormous, freezing cold house"
"a drafty, chilly house"
aren't these just different adjectives.

What makes an adjective "powerful" - or does it actually mean one that is less common? (e.g not "nice" but "delightful").
So it actually means "unusual adjectives"?

Am <*ing> confused.

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:27:02

well, it's just that some adjectives are more powerful than others. It's an attempt to get children to use their imagination and increase their vocab.
Nice is a great example. Nice is a perfectly nice adjective, but it's not that it is common, just weak as an adjective. If someones says I had a nice party, it doesn't tell us much.
There wouldn't be a 'wrong' powerful adjective to use instead of nice, it would just make it more interesting to read, wouldn't it?
I had a stupendous party, a thrilling party, an exciting party, a glorious party, all tell us more and engage us as the reader.

Hathor Tue 14-Oct-08 15:29:16

Thank you for all your nice replies smile

Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 15:30:18

None of them are particularly exciting. The way to make writing powerful is often to make better use of verbs. But I have given up explaining this to teachers. And I do 'get' that teachers have to teach children what adjectives are.

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:33:53

how old is your child Hathor?

Hathor Tue 14-Oct-08 15:35:32

9 in Y4

Moomin Tue 14-Oct-08 15:38:04

Are you Queen of the Teacher-Teachers then Bride1? grin

Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 15:40:43

No, I'm a professional writer. And have taught creative writing.

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:41:54

well why don't you explain to poor Hathor then, so she can help her 9-year-old?

Moomin Tue 14-Oct-08 15:44:34

If you explain this to teachers in the same tone as you've used here then they're probably ignoring you wink. For Hathor's purposes I think our explanations will probably suffice.

Hathor Tue 14-Oct-08 15:45:34


Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 15:50:30

I didn't mean that YOUR adjectives in your post weren't exciting, fumf! I was responding to the OP. Sorry if that wasn't clear. Your examples are good ones.

I think, from talking to teachers I have worked with in schools, they want to get away from big,small, nice, etc. (Not saying that the OP's child was using these.)

A boy I was working with used 'squelchy' when describing a monster. I liked that. It was more informative than the generic 'scary'.

fumf Tue 14-Oct-08 15:53:40

oh bride, I didn't think you were dissing my adjectives grin, but I did think you sounded a little dismissive. As I am neither a professional writer or a teacher, I wondered if you had some constructive help for Hathor (and I am a little envy if I am honest....)

Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 16:03:19

It's a bit of a bete noire with me, sorry. Especially adverbs. But I do appreciate that children have to know the parts of speech.

Here are some more I liked when I was working with a Year 2 class:

The princess had 'silky' hair (not just blonde).

The car was nippy and zippy (not just fast).

The dinner was scrumptious (not just nice or even delicious). I think she spelled it scrumshus but we could work on that.

The giant was grotesk. I gave that a big tick despite the spelling!

childrenofthecornsilk Tue 14-Oct-08 16:21:11

I think even a teacher might get that those are good choices though bride. hmm

Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 17:03:29

Did I say otherwise, childrenofthecornsilk? I was responding to a post asking what I thought and I have done that.

childrenofthecornsilk Tue 14-Oct-08 17:17:22

'The way to make writing powerful is often to make better use of verbs. But I have given up explaining this to teachers.'
Yes you did.

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