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I am wondering if there is really a difference between delight and delightful.

I would like to make a title for a French cooking app and was thinking of this:

MyApp - Homemade delightful French recipes

Does that sound correct? Or should I use delight instead? Is the order of adjectives used correct too?

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closed as general reference by Kris, Robusto, tchrist, Andrew Leach, RegDwigнt Feb 10 '13 at 18:13

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In the song title Afternoon Delight (1976 #1 pop hit), "delight" means "sex", so I'd avoid using "Homemade delight French recipes" and stick with "Delightful French Recipes", but I agree with Barrie's caveat about pairing "delightful" and "recipes". Maybe there's a better adjective, eg, facile, fantastic, flexible, or friendly. – user21497 Feb 10 '13 at 12:10
@BillFranke, that sounds like the perfect justification for using delight of recipes. – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '13 at 12:37
tiguero, we now have a beta site more specifically tailored to English Language Learners. Here, on ELU, many might consider the question too basic. This might also be the reason because there is already a close-vote. At any rate, be aware that the ELL site exists, have a look and make yourself comfortable. Thank you. – user19148 Feb 10 '13 at 12:51
@Carl_R I wasn't aware of this site indeed: thanks for pointing me this. – tiguero Feb 10 '13 at 12:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are times where we force a noun into the job of an adjective, and have it modify another noun. However:

  1. We don't do it if there's a common adjective that does the same job.
  2. We do it to classify, but not to add an opinion.

So we've two reasons why we would only go for delightful here.

Adjective order is a bit more complicated, but tends to be along the lines of:

  1. Determiners (a, several, numbers, sometimes considered separate to adjectives)
  2. General opinion (good, bad that can apply to anything)
  3. Specific opinion (tasty, intelligent, profitable that only make sense with certain nouns)
  4. Size
  5. Shape
  6. Age
  7. Colour
  8. Place of origin
  9. Material or manufacture.
  10. Purpose
  11. Qualifier. A case where something is closely bound to the noun to significantly distinguish it for other case (often the same as purpose above, quite often a noun used as an adjective, and quite often part of a common idiom).

So here we'd expect to have put delightful (general opinion), French (origin) then homemade (manufacture). With food though, the country of origin is strongly bound as a qualifier—a primary way we distinguish between cuisines—so we'd have "delightful homemade French".

As argued by others though, "homemade recipe" doesn't really work, as homemade more often refers to the product than the formula.

So "delightful French recipes for homemade X" (where X is some sort of food), or "delightful recipes for homemade French X" would make more sense.

Since it's an app presumably aimed at those who will be cooking or baking at home, I'd just use "delightful French recipes".

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I really like all the details you put in this answer. Specially for the order of adjectives. I learned something new. Thanks! – tiguero Feb 10 '13 at 12:36
Adjective order is tricky (I'm sure someone can find exceptions to what I have above), and often not explicitly taught to natives (I'm pretty sure I was never taught this in school, though they bored me regularly with things that seemed obvious) and often matches orders found in other languages, so it can be unnecessary there too. We can also break the order deliberately for effect. Your question gives an interesting case, with our reason for moving French, compared to "French homemade toy" vs "*homemade French toy", where nationality isn't as strongly bound as with cuisine. – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '13 at 12:58

Delightful is an adjective, so it is correct in your phrase. Delight, which can be a noun or a verb, would be incorrect.

Also, in terms of adjective order, your phrase should be Delightful homemade French recipes. For a short descriptive phrase like this, I don't think you need to use any commas at all.

Also, I don't like homemade modifying recipes. Homemade typically refers to food, or a specific kind of food, or cooking. Recipes can be used to cook at home, at a restaurant, or conceivably anywhere else. I did not find one reference to homemade recipes on Google Books corpora.

To refer to folksy, rural recipes, there are phrases such as down-home cooking or down-home recipes, but they typically apply only to cuisine of the rural American South.

Perhaps others will disagree with my opinion that homemade recipes is strange, and/or be able to suggest other options in its place.

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+ 1 great anwser too. – tiguero Feb 10 '13 at 12:37

The difference between delight and delightful is that the first is a noun and the second is an adjective.

The normal order in your example would be delightful homemade French recipes. The problem with that, however, is that it suggests that the recipes are homemade, when I suspect you want to convey is the idea that they are recipes for homemade dishes. In that case, you would have to say Recipes for delightful homemade French dishes. Even then, I’m not sure that delightful is really the adjective you want. It isn’t normally applied to food.

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Great minds think alike, or perhaps I flatter myself. :) – Shawn Mooney Feb 10 '13 at 11:44
I'd offer that delightful is quite often applied to baking and particularly delicate dishes (foie gras paté on melba toast is delightful, a large steak is not, beef Wellington is not, but the pastry and paté around it might be). – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '13 at 12:15
+1 thanks you are correct too: homemade seems more appropriate to dishes than recipes. – tiguero Feb 10 '13 at 12:52

Yes, "delight" is a noun and "delightful" is an adjective. So the best phrasing would be "Delightful homemade French recipes." There are three adjectives and one noun: A delicious grammar recipe, indeed.

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