Empty Adjectives

Don’t use so many empty adjectives.  I was going through an old journal I kept during the time my younger son was a communications student at university. He was taking writing and journalism courses so I asked him to read a number of my newspaper columns and give me some advice on how I could improve my writing.  One of his suggestions was that I needed to get rid of the empty adjectives in my pieces.  

I guess I didn’t take my son’s advice too seriously because on rereading his words a decade later I still had no idea what empty adjectives were.  I decided it was probably time to find out. After a little internet research I discovered empty adjectives are describing words that add a friendlier softer tone to sentences but do not add any meaningful content. Research says women are more prone to using empty adjectives than men. 

Armed with my new knowledge about ’empty adjectives’ I  looked back at my recent blog posts and sure enough it didn’t take me long to find some empty adjectives.  

We had delightful eggnog cheesecake. That’s how I described the dessert at a Christmas get together with my friends in a recent blog.  Delightful is an empty adjective.  I could have used more specific adjectives like creamy or spicy or chocolate -topped. They would have told you more about my cheesecake unlike the empty adjective delightful. 

Pitaloosie and Aqsatunnguaq – a watercolor by Pitaloosie Saila

There is a sad story behind this gorgeous watercolor of Pitaloosie and her sister. I used that sentence in a blog post describing a painting by Inuit artist Pitaloosie Saila.  Gorgeous is an empty adjective.  I could have used more specific adjectives like poignant, child-like or colorful.  They would have told you more about the artwork unlike the empty adjective gorgeous. 

My son was right!  I do use empty adjectives.  I am going to try to cure myself of that habit.  If you discover an empty adjective in my blog posts please do let me know. 

Other posts………

It is Beginning To Feel Like Christmas

A Very Personal Story

Who’s Right? My Husband or Me? 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Writing

One response to “Empty Adjectives

  1. Carolyne

    I think empty adjectives share an emotional response and perhaps should be limited but not eliminated.

    Like

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