Flabby Adjectives: Are Adjectives Bad and to be Avoided?
This is something I hear a lot these days: Adjectives are the poetic version
of flab! Poetry should be lean and mean, so go on a diet and cut out the
by Michael R. Burch
But it isn’t necessarily true. I remember when Charles Barkley was considered
“too fat” to play basketball. But he was one of the greatest players of his era.
He ended up with one of the coolest nicknames ever, "The Round Mound of
I think it would come as news to William Shakespeare that adjectives are the
“potbelly” of poetry, since he frequently employed them. In fact, he coined a
number of new adjectives, including:
There’s nothing “flabby” about any of those adjectives. Yes, writers can
overuse adjectives and bad writing can seem “flabby.” But in the right hands
adjectives add color and spice to writing. Just as in cooking, the trick is to
not overdo things. Cooks and writers need to develop good taste.