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” (“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: “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>.

In case you missed it:
Last time: Five-Phrase Friday (3): Pet Epithetic – terms of endearment for my dog
Day 1: Five-Phrase Friday (1): The Poetry Politic & the list of all 40 Five-Phrase Fridays

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

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  5. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (40): Subversive Farewell | Philosofishal by Carrie Tangenberg

  6. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (1): The Poetry Politic | Philosofishal by Carrie Tangenberg

  7. Pingback: Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry (9): The Lake Isle of Innisfree | Philosofishal by Carrie Tangenberg

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