How would you describe human beings without using nouns and verbs?How would you describe human beings without using nouns and verbs?

Asked on by nhl123

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mimerajver's profile pic

mimerajver | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

#11 has indeed hit the nail on the head. Any text would be meaningless without a noun to which a string of adjectives could be associated, or a verb that helped make sense of adverbs. 

If I told you, "impatient, grumpy, impish," wouldn't you ask, "Who are you talking about?" At some point, you need the noun. The same holds good for the connection between adverbs and verb/s. 

One interesting thing about language is that, in fact, nouns or pronouns and verbs are essential components of sentence structure, while adjectives and adverbs are not. 

I'd be delighted to see a meaningful description made up of adjectives and adverbs exclusively. Let's see who can produce it.

cfett's profile pic

cfett | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

In the same vein as those who have suggested adverb/adjective pairings, I will contribute some literary examples.  If, for example, you are describing a human such as the character of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, you may write something like "exquisitely reckless" (which also comes across as a bit oxymoronic, as @mwestwood mentioned, though also somehow accurate).  If, on the other hand, you are describing a character like Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, you might use a phrase like "delightfully unbridled."  Use some unexpected, yet apt, words.

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Adjectives are the way to go. However, I would make sure to use adjectives that are powerful. Words like great and good are colorless. The importance of adjectives is to add "color" to what is being described, but the "colors" don't have to be greens and reds. They can vivid and engaging. Using adjectives that appeal to the senses (sensory details) are especially appealing. Someone can be electric, icy, flat, effervescent...You can use any adjective to describe a human being, but I would always choose those that create an emotional response if possible.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The combination of adverbs of degree with colorful and imaginative adjectives is a great suggestion. Perhaps, some oxymoronic adverb/adjectives would add humor to the descriptions of human beings, if humor is permissible in your assignment. e.g. hastily tardy [describing someone who idles throughout the day, then realizes in the last half an hour that he/she must go somewhere and rushes to try to be on time; recklessly rational, etc.

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

You would use the two other major word classes: adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives are descriptors that modify, or describe, nouns and are in noun phrase. They may be used without benefit of the noun if need be: e.g., splendid, innovative, Herculean (or herculean). Adverbs are descriptors that qualify, or modify, verbs and are in verb phrases: always intentionally, sometimes accidentally, annoyingly, astutely. You can form mini-phrases by combining these to describe humans: sometimes accidentally splendid, annoyingly ignorant, often intentionally innovative.


stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Inquisitive, energetic, greedy, generous, lazy, spontaneous - there are lots of adjectives that would work nicely, depending on who and how you wanted to describe them!

Verbs and adverbs could be used if you stretched things some - hopping rapidly, swimming smoothly, loudly laughing.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Your best choice will be to use adjectives.  Think of adjectives that, to you, define what people are like.  Maybe you think people are "sinful."  Maybe you think they are "selfish."  Other possibilities would include saying they are "naturally good" or "naturally evil."  

renoa's profile pic

renoa | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

use adjectives like : pretty , beautiful and smart

overworked's profile pic

overworked | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

With the use of adjectives such as 'greedy' 'ambitious' or 'selfish'.

ramlakshmi's profile pic

ramlakshmi | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

It is true that description largely depends on adjectives and adverbs. Yet, the descriptive words  will be meaningless without reference to nouns and verbs.For example , you can use adjectives like 'zealous', 'cheerful' and so on.But whom or what do these words describe? There, you need to have a noun. In the same way a descriptive word like 'greedily' will stand in isolation unless supported by a verb like ' (he) ate'. So, the description of anything , human or otherwise, will not be possible without the use of nouns and verbs. However, in literary devices like personification and allegory, adjectives may sometimes stand for nouns. 

catbird55's profile pic

catbird55 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Buckminster Fuller described himself as a verb. A character of Stephen Crane, the gambler, in the 'Blue Hotel," is an adverb. Grammar provides a sense of order -- coercion -- to human speech and activity.

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