Can something be “blacker” than something else? How common are single-word comparatives and superlatives for color-designating adjectives?

Merriam-Webster implies that the comparative and superlative for black are blacker and blackest. However, my native British colleague says he would never used blacker, only more black. How common is using single-word comparatives and superlatives for color-designating adjectives? Is it used for some colors only (like white) whilst not for others (like black)? Would you … Read more

Avoiding ambiguity when listing Items

I’m trying to avoid ambiguity when writing a list of items. My confusion comes from describing one item using multiple adjectives versus a list of similar items. My examples are: 1) I ate green apples, yellow apples, and red apples. 2) I ate green, yellow, and red apples. Is the second sentence equivalent to the … Read more

“The sky is blue” – Is it a clause?

In the expression The sky is blue, is the adjective “blue” an object? Is this a clause or a sentence at all? Answer To answer your first question: blue is not an object in this sentence. It is a complement, more precisely a predicative complement. There are two sorts of predicative complements: subject-related predicative complement … Read more

What is the etymology of “yellow”, and why is it so different in other European languages?

It seems like most of our names for colors come from our German roots (blue/blau, green/grün, red/rot, etc.). But yellow is gelb in German, amarillo in Spanish, jaune in French, and giallo in Italian. I suppose the Italian seems closest, but perhaps they all have something in common? Answer The word for the colour yellow … Read more

When describing something’s colour, would you hyphenate the words? Eg, “blood-red” versus “royal blue”

Generally, as a rule, I always hyphenate words to make them into a single adjective, so I’ve been putting “blood-red”, “forest-green”, “royal-blue” and the like, but the moment I typed “royal-blue”, my instincts kicked in. It didn’t look right to me. Perhaps it’s because this is an official colour or the fact that the word … Read more