## Thursday, January 12, 2006

### Compound modifiers

Today we are going to learn about compound modifiers. A compound modifier is what happens when you try to make two words into one adjective. "Marathon-running psycho," "letter-writing frenzy," and "recently-brushed teeth" all require compound modifiers.

Example 1. Today I received a letter in the mail. Thank you. The return address said, and I quote: "Warm Weather Lovers." In this case, "warm weather" comes dangerously close to being a compound modifier, which would be an undesired outcome. Was this letter from lovers in warm weather, or lovers of warm weather? Hard to know.

Example 2. There are lots of compound modifiers in our SMALL paper, because we were trying to find "perimeter-minimizing curves." Note that we were finding perimeter-minimizing curves, rather than perimeter minimizing curves. What would a "perimeter minimizing curve" be? It sounds like part of a phrase such as "this perimeter is minimizing that curve," because without the hyphen, "minimizing" is not an adjective; it's a verb.

Thank you for listening.

Now I am putting in some pictures. First, I will show you that my room is small.

This is the view into my room from the hallway. I have included the doorframe and the doorknob for style. "Gosh, there's the wall, right there!" you exclaim.

Here is the wall 90° to the right, so that now you know both dimensions. The door is open. Now you know what room I live in. Josie is wearing her new outfit.

"But why, oh why would you be content to keep this room that is so small, this so-called 'rat cage'?" you say. Consider the (not-Photoshopped) view of Mount Greylock out my window this morning:

Kinda nice, isn't it?

tandyprehiem38258475 said...
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Ken Thomas '93 said...

Diana-- Thanks for the views; when I came here from EphBlog a few hours ago, I thought I recognized the perspective on WSB in your "sniper" shot.

It was always with an odd sense of history that I woke from naps in Noah Feldman's room at Harvard-- which had also been Emerson's. Where paths might any of us take?

I also enjoyed the folksy and homey nature of Telluride House at Cornell (and the frats around it), buildings which held relics of their many occupants, and where you were supposed to know the people who had lived there before.

If I've got the numbering right, Chris Cardona lived there in '94-95. Katya lived next door (the next year); and...

I'll leave you to discovery.