red-like-a-beetroot face

Renatrix

Senior Member
polski
Would the following structure be acceptable in fiction (children's fiction)?:
She was sitting in the armchair, stroking her round-like-a-ball belly.
or
He was staring at her red-like-a-beetroot face.
 
  • souplady

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    In English you don't typically see compound words formed like that with hyphens. It might be especially confusing for children.

    Alternative:
    She was sitting in the armchair, stroking her belly which was round as a ball.
    He was staring at her face which was red as a beet.


    You could even break it up into multiple sentences.
    She was sitting in the armchair, stroking her belly. It was as round as a ball.
    He was staring at her face. It was red as a beet.


    It sounds a little abrupt to an adult ear, but for kids it's just fine because it's easier to read, especially if it's a book for very young children.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    We do use hyphens to form compound adjectives to go before a noun - it's the normal way of doing so. However, your examples are slightly odd. I'd use "as", not "like".

    He was staring at her red-as-a-beetroot face.
    She was sitting in the armchair, stroking her round-as-a-ball belly.

    I think that both "red-as-a-beetroot face" and "round-as-a-ball belly" would work really well with young children. I know my 6-year-old grandson would love them. He wouldn't be at all confused. They wouldn't work for most three-year-olds, but that's because the concepts are too complex.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just to reinforce Andygc's point - it has to be 'red-as-a-beetroot' and 'round-as-a-ball'. The alternatives with 'like' just don't work.
     
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