Clarifying Discussions

This page is for clarifying points made in class. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section.

Clarifying explanation: “Just”

The word “just” is overused and should be avoided as an adverb in most cases. For example. “She is just sitting there” should be replaced with “She is sitting there” because the second version says the same thing with fewer words.

However, “There are just three “A+ papers” is NOT the same as “There are three A+ papers” so “just” is warranted. The word “just” communicates that the number of A+ papers is fewer than expected.

“I just want to eat dessert” suggests either I am the only one who wants to eat dessert or I only want to eat dessert, so “just” works.

Of course, the construction “Mr. Bearson is a just (or unjust) grader is also correct because the word serves as an adjective that means “full of justice”.

Clarifying explanation: Describing with Adjectives

Descriptions that use verbs rather than adjectives or adverbs to describe are more visual.


“The house is a disgusting mess”.


Laundry hung over the chairs; Chinese food dripped from the ceiling”.

or Compare:

“As I gaze over my classroom full of solemn, languid, unenthusiastic faces…”


“The students either slept at their desks, threw paper wads across the room, or fiddled with their phones”.

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