© 2017 Steve Campsall

modifying nouns

Modification is important as it can affect the style of a text in many ways.


A sentence can easily become over-modified. This often happens in beginner-writers such as children. Over-modification suggests that the writer has a smaller vocabulary and thus is unable to choose a more precise noun:

The very old, really wrinkly face of the terrifying awful, old witch was like a ugly big, black and terrible animal.


Test Yourself

'IT WAS A TOWN OF RED BRICK, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, arid vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next... .'

NEXT PAGE