1. WritingNoob
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    WritingNoob Member

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    How to use lists properly?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WritingNoob, Apr 29, 2010.

    hey guys, when i'm writing a descriptive sentence with multiple adjectives, when do i need to add comma's? here's an example:

    "I'm trying to write a more compelling, effective story"
     
  2. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    In your example, yes, a comma should be used. One of the many uses of the comma is to seperate adjectives that equally relate to the noun. If the adjectives can be switched in order and the meaning of the sentence remains the same, then use a comma.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    10 points to Gryffindor! :)

    (assuming Gannon is in Gryffindor of course. He seems an alright chap, so I assume Gryffindor.) ;)

    When commas are not used in a contruction like the one you mention, it becomes cloudy as to whether both adjectives are being directed equally to the noun they are modifying or if one adjective is modifying the next.

    Example:

    She drove a dark green Mercedes.

    Is the Mercedes dark or is the green color it is painted dark?
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    get yourself a good punctuation guide to answer questions like this while you're writing, instead of afterwards... i've a couple of good ones on my 'tools of the trade' list i'll be glad to send you if you drop me an email...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  5. Fedora
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    Fedora Active Member

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    If you can put "and" between the two adjectives, use a comma. Conversely, if it doesn't make sense with "and," leave the comma out.

    With your example, it would be "I'm trying to write a more compelling and effective story." Because the word "and" fits, you need a comma. If, for instance, you had "A cold April breeze touched my face," then you wouldn't need a comma because "cold and April breeze" makes no sense.

    Adjective pairs that require the comma are called coordinate adjectives. The pairs that don't are called hierarchal adjectives. This may seem pedantic, but you'll thank us if you ever get held at gunpoint by an English teacher.
     
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