Coordinate Adjectives


I am receiving editing advice that suggests I need to place a comma between:

"big green couch" and "little white dots."   Using the Chicago Manual of Style rule 5.90, it seems that a comma is not necessary based on non-coordinating adjectives.


I welcome your opinion and interpretation of this rule.



asked Oct 29 '13 at 16:40 Susan New member

We'll need to see the sentence in order to know what you are talking about.

Patty TOct 29 '13 at 16:42

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1 answer


I would call 'big green couch' and 'little white dots' cumulative adjectives, which don't require commas. A test to help you is to reverse the order of the adjectives.  If the phrase still makes sense, then you need the comma. If you can't reverse them, then no commas are needed.


Green big couch.  This just doesn't sound right.

White little dots.  Neither does this.

link answered Oct 29 '13 at 21:46 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

Ah, I thought she meant to write "big green couch, little white dots" which didn't make any sense without context.

Patty TOct 29 '13 at 23:39

Just a stab in the dark for me, Patty.

Lewis NeidhardtOct 30 '13 at 02:30

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