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Write the Right Word: Quality

Have you ever heard someone say, “The choir gave a quality performance tonight”?

Unfortunately, you don’t have a clue about whether the performance was good or bad because, despite the way “quality” often gets used, it is not an adjective (a word that modifies a noun). “Quality” is a noun meaning the character or nature of something, so you need a modifier, such as “good,” “excellent” or “high,” to describe the kind of quality.

So you’d say: “I need to find good-quality child care” or “The choir gave a high-quality performance.”

But don’t forget that quality isn’t always good, so you need to add modifiers such as “poor” or “bad.” For example, “The excessive rain this spring could result in a poor-quality crop this year” or “This afghan didn’t turn out well because of the bad-quality yard I used.”

, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391

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