Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Excessive adjectives dilute the meaning of words

Nearing the end of Out of Africa (review forthcoming), I couldn’t help but notice how author Isak Dinesen used a lone “fortune” as opposed to the more popular “good fortune” when she wrote:

“Natives have such a feeling for, and faith in, fortune, that now, after one success, they may have begun to trust that all was going to be well, and that I was to stay on the farm.” p370

By using fortune alone, which itself implies success, Dinesen caused me, the reader, to pause and consider what she wrote, rather than skimming a cliche. You too can add more meaning in writing by avoiding clutter adjectives, which dilute the meaning of words. A good reminder.