adjectives and proper names

Renatrix

Senior Member
polski
I'm not sure if it is OK to use adjectives with proper names in English, e.g.:
"He felt devastated that this nice pretty Kate had treated him so badly."
Also, when you describe how somebody feels, it it OK to use an adjective right before the proper name? E.g.: "Why are you yelling? - Disgusted Robin wanted to know." - This sounds quite awkward to me, so I would probably say: "Why are you yelling? - Robin wanted to know, disgusted."
I need this for a story for children.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I'm not sure if it is OK to use adjectives with proper names in English, e.g.:
    "He felt devastated that this nice pretty Kate had treated him so badly."
    Well, "handsome Copyright" works, so why not.
    Also, when you describe how somebody feels, it it OK to use an adjective right before the proper name? E.g.: "Why are you yelling? - Disgusted Robin wanted to know." - This sounds quite awkward to me ...
    "This sounds awkward to me, as well," said discontented Copyright.
    ... so I would probably say: "Why are you yelling? - Robin wanted to know, disgusted."
    This is better if you need "disgusted." One thing to learn is that ideally dialog should reveal the speaker's emotion, rather than your having to describe the emotion to the reader. But I'll leave the final decision to you.
     

    Renatrix

    Senior Member
    polski
    Thanks a lot, Copyright:). Could you please explain why the "discontented Copyright" is fine and the "disgusted Robin" is not?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry for the confusion – "discontented Copyright" was meant to be a joke. It's as bad as "disgusted Robin." :D
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The normal construction if you want to use an adjective with a proper noun is to include an article.

    He was served by a rather grumpy Geoffrey.
    It was a very pretty Kate who greeted us at the door.

    The idea is that there are different versions of Geoffrey or Kate, and we are presented with this particular version - hence the article. A couple of other examples:

    This is a painting of a rather young Shakespeare.
    The older Shakespeare has a more jaundiced view of life.
     

    Renatrix

    Senior Member
    polski
    The normal construction if you want to use an adjective with a proper noun is to include an article.

    He was served by a rather grumpy Geoffrey.
    It was a very pretty Kate who greeted us at the door.

    The idea is that there are different versions of Geoffrey or Kate, and we are presented with this particular version - hence the article. A couple of other examples:

    This is a painting of a rather young Shakespeare.
    The older Shakespeare has a more jaundiced view of life.
    Thanks, Natkretep. But I don't need articles in my sentences, do I?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think your second sentence could include an article:

    'Why are you yelling?' a disgusted Robin wanted to know.

    The first sentence could work if it occurs in the context where 'nice pretty' quotes someone. In other words, it is echoic. This would function like the.

    Gillian described Kate as a nice, pretty girl. He was thus all the more devastated when this 'nice, pretty' Kate wouldn't even deign to talk to him.
     

    Renatrix

    Senior Member
    polski
    I think your second sentence could include an article:

    'Why are you yelling?' a disgusted Robin wanted to know.

    The first sentence could work if it occurs in the context where 'nice pretty' quotes someone. In other words, it is echoic. This would function like the.

    Gillian described Kate as a nice, pretty girl. He was thus all the more devastated when this 'nice, pretty' Kate wouldn't even deign to talk to him.
    Could both these sentences ("Why are you yelling? - Robin wanted to know, disgusted." and 'Why are you yelling?' a disgusted Robin wanted to know.) be treated as two ways of saying more or less the same thing?
    As for my first sentence ("He felt devastated that this nice pretty Kate had treated him so badly."), there's nothing about 'this nice, pretty Kate' before. Does this mean this sentence will sound awkward?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Could both these sentences ("Why are you yelling? - Robin wanted to know, disgusted." and 'Why are you yelling?' a disgusted Robin wanted to know.) be treated as two ways of saying more or less the same thing?
    Yes, more or less for me.
    As for my first sentence ("He felt devastated that this nice pretty Kate had treated him so badly."), there's nothing about 'this nice, pretty Kate' before. Does this mean this sentence will sound awkward?
    It feels echoic to me because of your use of this. Otherwise, I would imagine it to mean that the speaker had an assumption of Kate being nice and pretty.
     

    Renatrix

    Senior Member
    polski
    Thanks a lot!
    The normal construction if you want to use an adjective with a proper noun is to include an article.

    He was served by a rather grumpy Geoffrey.
    It was a very pretty Kate who greeted us at the door.

    The idea is that there are different versions of Geoffrey or Kate, and we are presented with this particular version - hence the article. A couple of other examples:
    And if the author always describes a given character with the same characteristic (which is not part of the character's name, though, like in the case of cowboys or dwarfs)? E.g. "The robot is missing! - observed (a/the/nothing) smart Tom."
     

    florance

    Senior Member
    danish
    I am not so sure about the third sentence though; is it ok to just add an adjective there at the end of "Robin wanted to know, disgusted."?
    I often see patterns like "Robin, disgusted, wanted to know ...." instead of the one you stated.

    But I am not a native speaker so it is only based on my shallow experience :)
     
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