Five-Phrase Friday (4): Grammar Compound

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” – a common phrase and first part of the expression ending with Of Mice and Men, the title of an American classic novel by John Steinbeck

  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: “A small and unimportant place, as in [the sentence] Ours was just a one-horse town until the nuclear plant was built. This expression, first recorded in 1857, presumably alluded to a town so small that a single horse would suffice for its transportation needs.”  *

  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.

* source: “one-horse town.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company. 11 Sep. 2015. < town>.

4 thoughts on “Five-Phrase Friday (4): Grammar Compound

  1. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (6) | Philosofishal

  2. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (9) | Philosofishal

  3. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (10) | Philosofishal

  4. Pingback: Five-Phrase Fridays 2015 | Philosofishal

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