Tag Archive - coordinate adjectives

Are You Coordinating?

I think one of the more subtle problems in punctuation is understanding a coordinate adjective and when to use a comma. It’s up to you to determine if the adjectives describing a noun are coordinate or “equal” in their description. If so, you need a comma. A trick to figuring out if you need a comma is to say the sentence a different way. Here’s what I do:

First, the sentence: I have a thick wide green book.

I then say, “I have a book that is green, wide, and thick.” Wide and thick are similar adjectives, but green describes the book in a different manner. In fact, I have a green book that is thick and wide. That means I would punctuate the sentence like this:

“I have a thick, wide green book.” You don’t want to separate the noun from the immediate adjective with a comma. Continue Reading…