Grammar Rule – Commas and Adjectives

Disclaimer: I don’t own Merry or Pippin. They just popped by and asked if they could help out. So, of course, I said yes. 🙂

“Pippin, I’m writing a story about our adventures in Isengard, and I can’t seem to remember something.” Merry chewed on the end of his quill pen.

“Well, I’m here to help!” Pippin bit into an apple. “What do you need to know?”

“Was Legolas’s hair ‘long, lovely’ or was it ‘long lovely?” wondered Merry. “I think I need a comma between the two words.”

“And I was just about to say you didn’t,” Pippin sighed. “I don’t know which is correct.”

Merry looked forlornly down. How was he supposed to finish his story without knowing whether to use a comma or not? This was a grammar conundrum indeed. Luckily, Merry and Pippin, all you have to do is read this post, and you’ll find the answer to your question!

Let’s start by defining what an adjective is. An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. Black, seven, pretty, mad, cozy, soft, and hungry are all examples of adjectives. Now that we know what an adjective is, we can answer Merry and Pippin’s grammar question.

Legolas’s long, lovely hair is his pride and joy.

If you can interchange the adjectives and the sentence still makes sense, then you need a comma. For example, if you say Legolas’s lovely, long hair instead of long, lovely hair the sentence still makes sense. That means you need a comma between the two adjectives.

Tauriel is jealous of Legolas’s silky, shiny hair.

Another way of telling if you need a comma is to see if an “and” could be added between the two adjectives logically. It still makes sense if the wording is silky and shiny hair instead of silky, shiny hair. That means a comma is needed.

Legolas’s brown leather armor goes well with his hair.

There is no need to put a comma between brown and leather because you can’t exchange the adjectives or add an “and” and have the sentence still make sense. You wouldn’t say leather brown armor or leather and brown armor, so you wouldn’t need a comma.

Legolas’s sharp elven knives were a gift from Thranduil.

You cannot switch the adjectives here. Elven sharp knives just doesn’t make sense, so no comma is needed.

“I guess you were right, Merry. It does need a comma!” Pippin noted as Merry carefully wrote out the words “long” and “lovely” in the book, being sure to include a comma.

“I’m glad I know the difference now. I’d hate not to be able to finish my story. I’m going to call it How Two Hobbits Took Down Isengard and Plundered Isengard’s Salted Pork. I still think it’ll be better than Frodo’s story, The Lord of the Rings.”

“At least it will have correct comma usage!” Pippin said, leaving his friend to continue working on his story.

Merry and Pippin say thank you for reading! 🙂

~ Kayla

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