Putting it all together

Okay, that got a little hairy at the end there, but we made it!

Let's do a quick recap of adjective group components—everything is a lot simpler when you look back at it.

There are two kinds of adjectives that you can use to add qualities to nouns:

  • Describers – describe qualities of a noun. They're often the first words that come to mind when you think of adjectives, like old, hot, brightugly... They are usually adjectives.
  • Classifiers – specify a group that a noun belongs to, for example police carnational anthemchocolate factory.   (Many classifiers such as police and chocolate would function as nouns in other contexts.)

Then, there are two kinds of adverbs you can use to add qualities to describers:

  • Intensifiers – show how strong or intense a describer is, for example really coolso smellysuper hot
  • Qualifiers – describe qualities of a describer, for example oddly solidundoubtedly cleverkindly abrupt

You can combine all of these elements at once if you want, but it starts to sound ridiculous, so people rarely do that unless they are trying to sound funny or exaggerated.

Let's have a go at rewriting all the adjective groups in this next snippet.

Miranda looked so different: her hair was cut in this super-cute bob that she’d dyed bright pink, of all things, and she was wearing a striped tube top that (a) seemed way inappropriate for school, and (b) was totally not her usual style.


Miranda looked completely weird: her hair was cut in this totally crazy bob that she’d dyed galactic ultraviolet, of all things, and she was wearing a carbon crop top that (a) seemed unusually revealing for school, and (b) was totally not her modest style.

What's a galactic telescope? It's a kind of telescope. So that means the word galactic is a classifier—it classifies things.

Now, what about ultraviolet? Is it a describer or a classifier? We generally think of colours as describers. You can intensify them (that car is very red), you can put and or a comma between them (a red, dusty car)... So how come we can put a classifier in front of a colour, like in galactic ultraviolet? Classifiers go after describers, right?

What's really going on here is that the colour ultraviolet, which we'd normally consider to be an adjective (specifically, a describer) is instead being treated as a noun. Again, this is something native English speakers do without thinking.

  • We say: That is a red firetruck.
  • We can also say: That is firetruck red.

One sentence is talking about a truck, one is talking about a colour but treating it like a thing in its own right, instead of a describer attached to a noun.

Colours are a bit weird like this!

Miranda looked surprisingly normal: her hair was cut in this discreet little bob that she’d dyed dark brown, of all things, and she was wearing a checkered cotton top that (a) seemed disarmingly earnest for school, and (b) was totally not her punkish style.

Write your own variation, changing the adjective groups in whatever way you like.