1. vanilla16

    vanilla16 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    U.S.A.

    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

    BlizzardHarlequin New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland
    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

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,899
    Likes Received:
    2,095
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    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

    digitig Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,498
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    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

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,334
    Likes Received:
    96
    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

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,524
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,235
    Likes Received:
    1,016
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    '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

    digitig Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,498
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    "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.
     

Share This Page