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Dear Grammar Exchange,

This is my first post as a member. Thank you for the opportunity of posting on this forum.

I believe that transparency is key here.

I am in the process of developing a name for a fictional ship. The name I have settled upon is Ardent Discovery. However, the development of this name has had me thinking about the relationship between the two words (the adjective modifying the noun) and I’ve come to a point where I can't see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

Please could someone assist me here? I have two key questions in this regard:

1) Can you use any adjective to modify any noun?

2) Is there a grammatical precedent for using these two words together - in essence, could the act/process of ’discovery’ be described as ’ardent’?

Many thanks in advance.

Best wishes to you all!


Last edited by Jace777
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Hello, Jace777, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Your question revolves around the issue we know as "collocations," that is, what words usually accompany other words. It is a fact that not any adjective can modify any noun, and that not any noun can function as the head of a noun phrase containing a certain adjective. However, being a fictional name, the choice of words need not be so restrictive.

I can only share with you what my collocations dictionary says about both words, that is, what adjectives usually modify "discovery" and what nouns are usually preceded by "ardent":

Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English, 2nd edition
discovery noun
big , great , important , major , significant
potentially the biggest scientific ~ for fifty years
startling , surprising , unexpected
amazing , remarkable
fascinating , interesting
grim ( esp. BrE ) , grisly , gruesome
the grisly ~ of a decapitated body
latest , new , recent
accidental , chance
All these were chance discoveries made by scientists engaged in other investigations.
fortuitous , serendipitous
archaeological , medical , scientific
The story tells of a man's journey of personal ~.
© Oxford University Press, 2009
Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English, 2nd edition
ardent adj.
Ardent is used with these nouns: admirer , advocate , Catholicism , devotee , disciple , fan , follower , lover , nationalist , supporter
© Oxford University Press, 2009

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