Order of Adjectives and Comma Usage

November 10, 2015 | Posted in Writing & Grammar Tips | By

Order of Adjectives and Comma Usage

Oder of adjectives. When to use a comma with adjectives. Coordinate adjectives and cumulative adjectives.

When multiple adjectives are used, it can be confusing to determine if commas should separate the adjectives. Multiple adjectives are typically classed in a particular order with commas being used between coordinate adjectives (adjectives from the same category) and no commas used between cumulative adjectives (adjectives from different categories).

The list and tests below will help determine if adjectives are cumulative or coordinate, when a comma should be used, and the suggested order multiple adjectives should be listed in. The order of adjectives isn’t an exact rule and some sources may vary slightly on this order.

Order of Adjectives

  1. General observation/opinion
  2. Specific observation/opinion
  3. Size/shape
  4. Age
  5. Color
  6. Nationality/type/origin
  7. Material
  8. Purpose

Coordinate Adjectives

Coordinate adjectives come from the same category and require commas when multiple adjectives are used to describe a noun. Coordinate adjectives carry the same weight or emphasis. The order of the adjectives can be changed without sounding awkward.

Example: Mary has a bright, upbeat personality.

Test 1: Can we rearrange the adjectives without the sentence sounding awkward?
Mary has an upbeat, bright personality.

Test 2: Can we replace the comma with the word and without the sentence sounding awkward?
Mary has a bright and upbeat personality.

Cumulative Adjectives

Cumulative adjectives come from different categories and do not require commas when multiple adjectives are used to describe a noun. Cumulative adjectives “build” on each other. The order of the adjectives cannot be changed and will often sound awkward when rearranged.

Example: The skilled helicopter mechanic received an award.

Test 1: Can we rearrange the adjectives without the sentence sounding awkward?
The helicopter skilled mechanic received an award.

Test 2: Can we place and between the adjectives without the sentence sounding awkward?
The skilled and helicopter mechanic received an award.

Write a one-page synopsis in three paragraphs

October 30, 2015 | Posted in Author Resources, Writing & Grammar Tips | By

Write a One-page Synopsis in Three Paragraphs

Write a one-page synopsis in three paragraphs. Synopsis for query to literary agent or publisher.

Paragraph 1. Introduce main characters and how the story starts (conflict, setting, time). What is the inciting moment?

Paragraph 2. Goals and plans of protagonist and antagonist. Brief details of what they do, how they do it, where and when they do it, and why they do it.

Paragraph 3. How does the story end? Are conflicts resolved? Are goals reached? Tie this back to the inciting moment.

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