English as a Second Language/Suffix -ed vs phrases


Hello Brian! Happy first day of spring!My question's about suffix -ed added to form adjectives. Would you rather use adjectives with -ed to describe appearance or a phrase. For example with hair: red/golden/blond,etc. haired or with red hair, bright , etc. eyed or with bright eyes, wire-haired or with hair like wires...and WHY. Can you add the suffix to any part of a body/face? like big-nosed? red-lipped? strong-armed? even like huge-bellied? Can you think of any example that wouldn't sound right when you'd rather replace it with a phrase. Thanks in advance!!!!

Thanks!  It's still cold here in Japan, though!  LOL

Interesting question!  It's very situational.

In a conversation, using phrases or clauses would be more appropriate.  For example:

A: So how was the party last night?
B: Great!  I met a really cute girl who had red hair and blue eyes.

A: What does your brother look like?
B: He's a tall guy with big muscles and a shaved head.

The reason is simply that it's much easier to remember what the direct object/complement of the sentence is if we say it first, and then add details later.  Depending on how many descriptive words or phrases we are using, it could take a LONG time to get to the actual person we are talking about!

If I am writing a phrase, rather than a sentence, or I am giving a description of someone or writing an essay, I would tend to use the modifiers.  For example:

-There are several photos of men with red hair.  Caption reads: "Red-headed/haired Men"

This is simply more efficient because I don't need to make a sentence.  It's the same in writing.  The difference is that in writing, you don't need to "remember" what the object was because you can always go back and check; you can't do that in a conversation.

This may apply if I am giving a description, like if the police ask me what the man looked like.  In that case, in order to emphasize his descriptive qualities, I may use the modifiers first, rather than phrases or clauses.

Yes, you can add the suffix to ANY part of the body!  Lips, ears, arms, legs, etc.  It sounds odd with organs, like the stomach or belly, or with extremities like eyebrows or nails, though.

Hope that helps!

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

None in particular, but I work with a number of companies who regularly introduce me to new students and occasionally to other companies that are looking for English teachers.


Past/Present Clients
I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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