This week we focus on phrasal grammar, specifically compound modifiers. A compound modifier is a two-word adjective like the compound “two-word” before the noun “adjective.”
Hyphenated when it appears before the noun it modifies, this device I compulsively use for its potential to say much with little. We don’t hyphenate compound modifiers (1) when they follow the noun they modify or (2) when the first word in the compound ends in “ly,” which makes it a modifier of a modifier. Quiz next week. . . .
1. “the best-laid plans” (“schemes”) – a common phrase and first half of the expression ending with “Of Mice and Men,” title of the classic American novel by John Steinbeck. The original line came from Scots poet Robert Burns’ famous poem “To a Mouse.”
2. “a fully loaded ride” – a vehicle, most often a car, with all the perks and extras
3. “one-horse town” – a common expression meaning: .
4. “space cake high” from the song “Glory of the 80’s” by Tori Amos (yes, drugs)
5. “the bee-loud glade” – This phrase from the poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B. Yeats, is one of my favorite phrases in poetry.