Last weekend, I read an amateurish book called The Russian Concubine. Oddly, there were no Russian concubines in the book. We had Russians. We had a couple cameos of Chinese concubines. But no Russian concubines. I don’t even know who was supposed to be the Russian concubine.
On top of that, the author used cliches like “Old Chap” and “gray around the gills” as often as she used “the” and “he.” So of course I turned to this book to find a useless adjective; I knew the hunt would be short.
The word that stood out after a couple of minutes of page flipping: beautiful. What did the candlesticks look like? They were beautiful. The mother? Beautiful. The dress? Beautiful.
As with other useless adjectives, beautiful says nothing about the object, person, or scene except that it is nice to look at. But we don’t know why it is nice to look at. The lazy author has cheated us out of an image. And in the case of The Russian Not-a-Concubine, the author has also cheated me out of 3 days of my life.