Can such a long turn be used as an adjective?

Looking at a sinister, standing on the tribune and fiercely gesticulating in his usual manner general, John felt terrified.

Should I move the noun (general) like this?

Looking at a sinister general standing on the tribune and fiercely gesticulating in his usual manner, John felt terrified.

  • No, it's not an adjective! It's gerund-participial clause functioning as a supplementary adjunct. Supplements are not tightly integrated into clause structure; instead they are loosely attached, marked off from the rest of the clause by punctuation (like a comma), and in speech by a slight pause. Like most non-finite clause, the one in your example is subjectless, thought the subject is recoverable from the matrix and is clearly "John". – BillJ Jan 31 '17 at 15:17

If you are aiming for a humourous effect, it is possible to construct long descriptive phrases as in your first sentence, however it is conventional to hyphenate the words:

Tristan was not your typical hanging-out-with-the-guys kind of guy.

If you want your writing to be taken seriously, the more conventional word order in your second version is definitely the way to go.

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