Monday, December 10, 2007

When to use commas between adjectives

Chuck Berry sang, "I've got a 1963 cherry red Mustang Ford."
We've got a small black house cat.


Your Dad is a kindly, amiable, lovable man.

The rule: use commas between coordinate adjectives. These are adjectives that have roughly equal rank, kind or order of importance.

You can tell if they are coordinate if --
1) you could logically put "and" between them
2) their order can be changed around
3) in normal reading a pause comes between them

The two sentences at the top have adjectives that are not coordinate (they refer to size, year, color, make); therefore, there are no commas.

The comma occupies the sacred section 12 of Harbrace. The item above is Rule No. 12c(2)

(Section 13, deals with, superfluous, commas.) :-)

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