English as a Second Language/English adjectives

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Question
Hello Amy,

How are you? Could you please help me with this question: can adjectives modify adjectives? I think it takes an adverb to do that. Or, at least GrammarBook says so: http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/adjAdv.asp

But, here is an example: "There was something very pleasing in his mild blue eyes."
And a little more context: His voice was gentle; you could not imagine that he could raise it in anger; his smile was kind.

I wonder what does mild describes: eyes or blue? Could "mild blue" be as a color, like "Baby blue", "Ball blue", "Beau blue", "Blizzard Blue"? It takes two words to  describes a color.

Thank you, Amy

Alex

Answer
Hi Alex,

I'm doing good. How about yourself?

By definition adjectives cannot modify adjectives. It takes an adverb to modify an adjective, while adjectives modify nouns and pronouns.

About that example - I'm thinking 2 things

1) there should be a comma between mild and blue:
There was something very pleasing in his mild, blue eyes. In which case mild describes the eyes.

2) there is no comma:
There was something very pleasing in his mild blue eyes. In which case "mild blue" is the term the author of the text used as a color name. Like you said - similar to baby blue, navy blue etc.

Best regards,
Amy :)

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

Education/Credentials
BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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