Saturday, September 22, 2012


So I was driving down the road, and this great big truck was carrying a, well, great bigger truck, and I couldn’t see around it. It waould and this great big truck ick on the road that I can'e idea in which I demonstrate my economic acuity with complete disregas going too slowly, and my lead foot was desperate for activity—like possibly giving someone a swift kick in the seat of his pants. I was actually deep in thought, and I was getting irritated. I’m not one for road rage, but if there was a good time to demonstrate it, it would have been right then. The duel-trucked truck was too big for the road and the speed was too slow for any normal person to condone, but the real problem had nothing to do with the creeping, overly large vehicle. The real problem was that, strung across the wide trailer-bed was a sign, a sign that said “OVERSIZE LOAD.” That was more than I could take. I mean, there’s a man or woman out there in the world who had the fantastic idea to make banners with those words and who is probably settled into his or her castle somewhere in the tropics enjoying the profits of millions of “oversize load” signs, and the person is a grammar illiterate. It’s oversized load, and people who know their grammar become irritated enough with that signage that we all consider running those vehicles off the road whilst we give them a piece of our minds and an immediate grammar lesson.

You see, there are nouns and verbs in this world that are wonderful base words that allow us writers to add suffixes to them, forming adjectives. The following are some of the aforementioned suffixes:  ing, less, able, ic, ful, al, ish, ous, less, y, like, ate, ed .  We take a word like work and make it working, so we can have “a working idea.”  Self becomes selfless, depend becomes dependable, metal becomes metallic, harm becomes harmful, magic becomes magical, freak becomes freakish, thunder becomes thunderous, life becomes lifeless, rain becomes rainy, cat becomes catlike, and college becomes collegiate. It’s a great way to form some wonderfully descriptive words out of some everyday, common nouns and verbs. 

The same grammatical concept, however, applies to the suffix “d” or “ed.” When it’s added to a noun or verb, it can change the word into an adjective. It can be used as a nice way to describe and tell “what kind” of a person, place, thing, or idea. You see, we don’t have a carpet room; we have a carpeted room. We don’t celebrate finishing our laundry with a pile of fold clothes; we have folded clothes. It’s not a defeat team; it’s a defeated team.  It’s not a bake apple pie; it’s a baked apple pie.  The pie is baked, the team is defeated, the clothes are folded, and the room is carpeted. Does anyone say, “The room is carpet”? If you heard the window is wash, the wall is paint, the door panel is dent, and the onions are chop, it would sound wrong to you, wouldn’t it? 

So why do people say “I want some ice tea”? Or they say “I read a print copy of the book.” Or I hear “I own a king-size bed.” Or I read a sign that says “oversize load.”  The tea isn’t ice; it’s iced. The copy isn’t print; it’s printed. And the mattress isn’t king-size; it’s king-sized. Just like the load isn’t oversize; it’s oversized. In each instance, a suffix (d or ed) is added to a noun or verb to create a very useful adjective. Just like super-size is a verb at McDonald’s, king-size and oversize are verbs as well—unless a suffix is added to change the word to an adjective. So Mr. or Mrs. I’ve-lived-the-American-dream-and-got-rich-quick-off-a-simple-idea-in-which-I-demonstrated-my-economic-acuity-with-complete-disregard-for-my-native-language, just know that when I’m stuck behind a wide-bodied truck on the road that I can’t see past and can’t get around, I’m not upset with the truck; I’m upset with your stupid sign.


  1. I am wondering if this post has something to do with editing books by an author that has trouble with past and present tense verbs???? Lol. Great information as always Jeff.

  2. What do you think of this? I have always wondered whether business "OPEN" and "CLOSED" signs were written correctly. Shouldn't the OPEN sign read OPENED, being an adjective to describe the state the business is currently in? They seem to have gotten it right with the CLOSED sign, however. So this is a double...not only should OPEN be OPENED, but they aren't even consistent about it.

  3. I agree. The store is "opened" for business...just like the doors are "closed" at the end of the work day.

  4. I love reading a blog about heavy hauling because I get some technique on how to move am oversized loads. Thanks for this blog.

    Heavy Hauling Trailers

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Richie. I've caught myself misusing the d/ed suffixes several times since I wrote this, so I taught myself something too.