Commas and adjectives

Adjectives offer different perspectives on whatever they describe:

  • evaluative – silly, splendid, unmanageable
  • descriptive – blue, large, joyful
  • categorial – Greek, wooden.

See also Noun phrases

When more than 1 adjective is used to describe a noun, they usually appear in the following order: evaluative, descriptive, categorial.

If the adjectives bring these different perspectives, they do not need a comma between them:

splendid blue Greek vase     trendy old lady     jazzy red sports car

However, if more than 1 adjective with a single perspective is used, they do need a comma:

long, dark, narrow path     tall, well-dressed man     long, hot, smoky summer

One way to determine whether you need a comma is to test whether you could say the phrase with and between the adjectives. If you can, you need commas:

You would not say:
a splendid and blue and Greek vase [so you do not need commas]

You could say:
a long and dark and narrow path [so you do need commas]

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