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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Dozen Uses for Commas, Part 7

As part of our series on commas, we're look at the many uses of commas as well as some of the places where they should NOT be used. This week we're talking about using commas with coordinative adjectives.

Coordinate adjectives refer to those adjectives which both (or all, when there are more than two) describe the same item and are given equal weight in their description. The order of these adjectives does not affect the meaning and the word "and" could be inserted between them as well. Commas should be used between these coordinative adjectives. For example:

The rough, bumpy, dusty road is the worst part of my husband's commute.

Each of those adjectives describes the road itself, and we could also say "The rough AND bumpy AND dusty road…" or "The bumpy and dusty and rough road…" without changing the meaning of the sentence.

On the other hand, if I refer to "The rough, bumpy gravel road…," I do NOT put a comma between bumpy and gravel because both rough and bumpy are subordinate adjectives used to describe the "gravel road."

Likewise, it's important not to put the comma between the final adjective and the noun itself. In the first example above, you would NOT punctuate it as, "The rough, bumpy, dusty, road is the worst part of my husband's commute," because we don't want to separate the adjective group from the noun it's describing.


2 Comments:

Erin said...

Just found your website through Money Saving Mom. I also just graduated from M-TEC and am beginning the job search process. I am anxious to look around and stop by often! Do you ever post job opportunities?

Leeser said...

This is very helpful. I've been doing medical transcription for 2 1/2 years now and still get confused over commas sometimes. Thanks for the great information!