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    #1

    how to link adjectives

    Dear teachers,

    1) When do we have to put a comma or the coordinator “and” to separate adjectives?

    2) Would you please tell me if it is compulsory to put commas in a long series of adjectives ?

    Examples:

    a) A small, blue, canvas bag. / A small, blue canvas bag.
    b) A big, old, square, black, wooden Chinese table.
    c) A sharp hunting knife.
    d) Two beautiful small old round red wax Thai candles. (Do I need commas here?)
    e) A dirty, torn coat.
    f) She writes long and flowery letters. / She writes long flowery letters (?)

    g) A concrete glass building. (Would you order these "material" adjectives in alphabetical order? Would you please give me another example?)

    h) A practical economical car. (Under which category would you place these adjectives? Would you please give me another example like this?)

    Thank you for your help.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 19-Dec-2006 at 19:55.

  1. Philly's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Hi Hela
    The problem with commas is that there is a bit of disagreement about when to use them and when not to. And there are also some variations in the "rules" given for the order of adjectives. Have a look at the Wikipedia write-up:
    Adjective - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    So, I'll just give you my input based on what I know and also my preferences.
    Keep two very basic rules in mind: commas should help (not hinder) reading and sentences with lengthy strings of adjectives are generally awful sentences and should be rewritten..
    .
    .
    a) A small, blue, canvas bag. / A small, blue canvas bag. I wouldn't use any commas
    b) A big, old, square, black, wooden Chinese table. I wouoldn't write this at all. You should limit the adjectives to a maximum of about three. Once you get to four or more, the sentence usually starts to become a confusing mess -- both for the writer and the reader.
    c) A sharp hunting knife. Good
    d) Two beautiful small old round red wax Thai candles. (Do I need commas here?) You need fewer adjectives here. It would be better to have more than one sentence and/or do some rewording, etc.
    e) A dirty, torn coat. Without a comma is also OK in my opinion.
    f) She writes long and flowery letters. / She writes long flowery letters (?) Both are OK.
    g) A concrete glass building. (Would you order these "material" adjectives in alphabetical order? Would you please give me another example?) Your example needs the word 'and' if the building is made of both materials -- which is what I assume you mean. Without the word 'and', concrete would have to have and be understood as having a different (non-material) meaning.
    Ordering adjectives alphabetically in a sentence is not something that has ever crossed my mind as a technique.
    h) A practical economical car. (Under which category would you place these adjectives? Would you please give me another example like this?)I'd call practical an 'opinion' and 'economical' might be generally categorized as 'purpose'.
    .
    I realize some of my comments probably don't give you the information you were looking for, but those are my opinions.
    .

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    #3

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Thank you, Philly, for your comments.

    - Is the adjective "economical" in the example above definitely a "fact adjective" and not an "opinion adjective"?

    - What would you say:

    a) A beautiful old English silver mirror OR A beautiful old sivler English mirror (?)

    b) A 19th century Swedish wooden salad bowl OR A 19th century wooden Swedish salad bowl (?)

    Best wishes


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    #4

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Thank you, Philly, for your comments.

    - Is the adjective "economical" in the example above definitely a "fact adjective" and not an "opinion adjective"?

    - What would you say:

    a) A beautiful old English silver mirror OR A beautiful old sivler English mirror (?)

    b) A 19th century Swedish wooden salad bowl OR A 19th century wooden Swedish salad bowl (?)

    Best wishes
    Believe in Inchoate ;)

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    #5

    Re: how to link adjectives

    I'd go for nationality + material.

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    #6

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Dear teachers,

    Is it possible that:

    1a) It's going to be a long hot summer The summer is going to be long and hot.
    1b) It's going to be a hot,longsummer The long summer is going to be hot.

    2a) A French silk scarf A Silk scarf made in France.
    2b) Asilk, Frenchscarf A French scarf made of silk.
    2c) Acotton, French scarf A French scarf made of cotton.

    3a) A Swedish wooden salad bowl A wooden salad bowl made in Sweden.
    3b) A wooden, Swedish salad bowl A Swedish salad bowl made of wood.

    Thank you for your help and patience.
    Merry Christmas to you all,
    Hela

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    #7

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Yes, though some might sound a little strange without further context, as you have supplied here.

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    #8

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Dear teachers,

    Here are some more question if you don't mind.

    Would you please tell me if the following sentences are correct and which alternative do you prefer?

    1. She was given / bought a gorgeous silk satin dress.
    (here I would like to use a passive form = given as a present)

    2. The model walked down the runway with a classy fawn / tawny fur coat.

    3. She has long fleshy / rounded legs. (correct ? same meaning?)

    How would you define the following?

    4. a roasting tin (would you please tell me what it is?)

    5. He is a DARK-HAIRED boy. = He is a boy with dark hair.

    6. Geoffrey is bandy–legged / bow–legged = Geoffrey has bandy / bow (?) legs.

    7. My older brother is not very sister-friendly. (correct ?)
    (does it mean that he is not nice to his sister ?)

    8. She is a BIG-HEADED artist. = she is an artist with a big head (?)
    (would the explanation work in the primary and figurative sense?)

    9. It’s a solid oak desk. (what is solid the oak or the desk ?)

    Many thanks . Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all.
    Hela

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #9

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Hela,

    1. She was given / bought a gorgeous silk satin dress.
    (here I would like to use a passive form = given as a present)
    => give to; bought for
    Passive: A dress was bought for her.

    2. The model walked down the runway with a classy fawn / tawny fur coat.
    => fawn is light yellowish-brown, whereas tawny is dark yellowish or dull yellowish-brown.

    3. She has long fleshy / rounded legs. (correct ? same meaning?)
    => fleshy refers to weight, whereas rounded refers to shape.

    4. a roasting tin (would you please tell me what it is?)
    => See a picture here.

    5. He is a DARK-HAIRED boy. = He is a boy with dark hair.

    6. Geoffrey is bandy–legged / bow–legged = Geoffrey has bandy / bow (?) legs.
    =>They're synonyms; UK bandy-legged, USA bow-legged, also bow legs, bowleg, bowed legs.

    7. My older brother is not very sister-friendly. (correct ?)
    (does it mean that he is not nice to his sister ?)
    => Correct, given the right context. Also, other people's sisters too.

    8. She is a BIG-HEADED artist. = she is an artist with a big head (?)
    (would the explanation work in the primary and figurative sense?)
    => Figurative sense, conceited. Both figurative and literal meanings are possible given the right context.

    9. It’s a solid oak desk. (what is solid the oak or the desk ?)
    => Could be both.
    1) collocation: solid oak
    2) solid as in a sturdy oak desk,

    All the best.

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    #10

    Re: how to link adjectives

    Thank you Casiopea, glad to hear from you again

    Thanks for the picture, it was really helpful!
    Best wishes and happy New Year 2007

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