1

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/chapter1.1.html

The paragraph is below.

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black-moustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own.

I encountered questions in the sentence " Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere ".

Does the word "tear" mean "to pull something so that it separates into pieces" in the sentence "Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals"?

Does the word "spiral" mean "a circular curving line that goes around a central point while getting closer to or farther away from it" in the sentence "Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals"?

Is the word "harsh" equal to the word "harshly" in the sentence "the sky a harsh blue"?

closed as off-topic by Glorfindel, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, JMP, ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq, GoDucks Jan 26 '16 at 17:14

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  • 3
    I don't think this question should be closed. It might be difficult for a nns to understand why adverbial harshly can't be used above, given that it's valid to say, for example, The sky was disturbingly blue. @Li Xiaodong - it would be valid (though unlikely phrasing) as ...and the sky harshly blue (without the indefinite article a). – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '16 at 15:19
  • Consider: a bright pink; a deep blue; a pale yellow (expressing the visual quality of the color, its "hue"). But consider also adjectives that impart figurative qualities to the color: a shrieking orange; an angry red; a sad gray. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 26 '16 at 15:49
  • I'm happy to confirm that Her face was softly pink and Her face was soft pink are both completely valid. But I wouldn't like to be drawn on what if any difference in meaning they might have, nor could I explain exactly what's going on at the syntactic level there. – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '16 at 16:08
  • 2
    I voted to close this question because you edited it to include three different questions. If you have three different questions, post them as three separate posts. – GoDucks Jan 26 '16 at 17:16
4

The article a is a clue that blue is a noun, not an adjective itself. Harsh modifies blue, and since blue is a noun, that means harsh has to be an adjective.

-ly turns adjectives into adverbs. You would use harshly if modifying an adjective or adverb.

She yelled at me harshly (modifies yelled)

A harshly worded letter was given to me (modifies worded - worded is not a verb but an adjective modifying letter)

-2

harshly is derived from harsh - the root word is harsh.

They mean the same thing, but in the context of that sentence you can only use harsh - never harshly

  • Please edit to include an explanation of why "harshly" cannot be used; answers without explanation do not teach the patterns of the language well. – Nathan Tuggy Jan 26 '16 at 19:09
  • Rather than saying you could "never" use harshly in that sentence, it might be more accurate to say that you'd need to restructure the sentence to use the adverbial form,. e.g.: though the sun was shining brightly and the sky harshly blue... – J.R. Jan 26 '16 at 21:32

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