I've written a sentence that goes "The sky dimmed as the sun fired an emerald beam salute and sank into the far crest of the earth splashing gleams that stained the overhanging firmament a blacklight purple, with seams of claret (...)". Saying that it stained the sky "blacklight purple" sounds to me like there is something missing and "a blacklight's purple", which I'm leaning on if the former isn't correct English, sounds as if a blacklight has ownership of a color that its inanimate quality won't allow.

I'm a bloody pedant but it's the first sentence of a novel I'm writing and I want it to be solid.

  • 1
    '... blacklight purple' or ' ... a blacklight purple' are correct. This seems to be a relatively new compound adjective. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 29 '17 at 13:15
  • 1
    Purple is a noun for this purpose. It's blacklight I'd be worried about. – 9fyj'j55-8ujfr5yhjky-'tt6yhkjj Oct 29 '17 at 14:21
  • @EdwinAshworth A blacklight purple is not a compound adjective but simply a compound noun, where the noun blacklight is used attributively and purple is the second noun. A blacklight emits only a little bit of visible light way down deep in the short violet range; it isn’t actually purple of course, as no long red light is part of the mix. The light you cannot see is what they’re calling black; the rest is violet. An actual compound adjective would be a super-light purple, such as lavender perhaps. – tchrist Oct 29 '17 at 15:48
  • @tchrist 'Purple' being both adjective and noun, I'd need to see an authority validating that 'backlight purple' isn't an adjective before I accepted this. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 29 '17 at 16:33
  • As an aside , this is a case where saying bloody doesn’t bother me, because I don’t know if it’s equivalent to something like f-cking – 9fyj'j55-8ujfr5yhjky-'tt6yhkjj Oct 29 '17 at 17:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.