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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.


3 comments:

  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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