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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Mess of Adjectives

While dining today at a local restaurant chain, I checked out the even newer menu.  One item caught my attention immediately -- "Chop Steak."  

Was "Chop Steak" a hybrid of a chop and a steak?  Was the chop a pork or lamb one?  Was the steak stuffed with a chop perhaps?  Or could knife skills have been utilized in the chopping of the steak before cooking?  Maybe a Ninja was involved? 

The menu item should have been listed as "Chopped Steak."

It is not "ice tea;"  it's "iced tea."  It is not "old-fashion ice cream;" it's "old-fashioned ice cream."  It is not a "wind-power generator;" it's a "wind-powered generator."

A participle is a word that is formed from a verb and used as an adjective. 

For those of you who like to know the rest of the story, know that present participles end in -ing, and past participles end in -d, -ed, -n, -en, and -t (saved, talked, seen, bitten, crept). They show action, but do not serve as verbs in the sentence.  Although participles in a verb phrase containing a helping verb are thought of as verbs, other participles modify nouns and pronouns, and thus act like adjectives.

(*Note:  A hyphen is used in a compound adjective when it precedes the word it modifies.)
Standard English is not "chopped liver."  Correct these minor mistakes in writing and use adjectives correctly.  Chop chop.


  1. Replies
    1. Ice cream is a compound noun -- there's a listing for it under "I" in the dictionary. There is no listing for iced tea under "I" -- it's tea that has been iced or had ice cubes added to it. Great question!

      *Couldn't edit my comment to fix the typo, so I had to delete it and repost. Geesh!

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