1. vanilla16
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    vanilla16 Member

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    Does a comma belong here? x)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by vanilla16, Mar 13, 2012.

    She stared into his orient, obsidian eyes.
    ^ umm, could you tell me whether or not that comma is necessary? :)
     
  2. BlizzardHarlequin
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    BlizzardHarlequin Senior Member

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    Usually if you are describing just one adjective, you wouldn't use a comma.

    Though that actually does sound better with the comma.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The sentence itself is malformed, because orient isn't an adjective. But two independent adjectives do get separated by commas.

    When would you NOT use a comma? If the first modifier modifies the second, rather than if they both modify the same word:

    She stared into his bright green eyes. <-bright describes what kind of green
    She stared into his bright, green eyes. <-both bright and green refer directly to his eyes.
     
  4. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, it can be -- according to my dictionary it can "brilliant, lustrous" (particularly used of pearls of gemstones). It's now rare and chiefly poetical if it's not used of pearls or gemstones, but that seems to be precisely the meaning intended by Vanilla16. So the sentence isn't malformed, it's simply obscure. That's almost certainly a problem, but a different one.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd keep the comma for the reasons Blizzard suggested. If the reader isn't forced to pause orient and obsidan run into each other, or you could place and in there.

    I imagine they are hard, black and almost polished in appearance ?
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought was that 'orient' is not correct, then I remembered seeing it in poetry as an adjective. It must be archaic, though.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'oriental' would be the exptected adjective there... and i doubt many--if any--readers would accept your usage as correct, so would strongly advise against using it in that context...
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Oriental" has a different meaning. Of a gemstone, and hence figuratively, "orient" means particularly lustrous and fine-quality, not necessarily anything to do with the Far East (although that was the origin of the term). I agree it's likely to confuse readers, though (it's confused a few here), so there would have to be a good reason to use it.
     

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