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When do we separate adjectives by commas, by hyphens and neither?

  • Cumulative adjectives don't use commas, but I think sometimes they can use hyphens??
  • Coordinate adjectives use commas, always.
  • I also learned that if there is no confusion by leaving out commas, then leave them out.
  • And finally, I heard that if the adjectives aren't specific to the noun, then don't use commas; if they are specific, use commas???
Do adjectives' restrictivity also have some impact?

Please clear this up for me, as I have all this information, but I don't know how to apply it. Emotion: crying
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You probably already have a better handle on it than I do, but as for your last question: Yes.

"When each of several adjectives preceding a noun modifies the noun individually, the adjectives should be separated with commas: It was a large, well-placed, beautiful house.

However, if the last adjective identifies the noun rather than merely modifying it, no comma should precede it: His is the large brick house on the corner."

(A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, KL Turabian)
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Mister MicawberHowever, if the last adjective identifies the noun rather than merely modifying it, no comma should precede it: His is the large brick house on the corner."

Thank you, MM. What about the second to last, third to last etc? Emotion: smile
And now that I think about it, this example you have given is has cumulative adjectives. Hence, no commas are used.
Cummulative adjectives always come before the noun and they must be in specific order.

1) Article, demonstrative pronouns, possessive
2) Quantity
3) Opinion
4) Appearance: size
shape/length
condition
5) Age
6) Color
7) Nationality & religion
8) Material
9) Purpose
10) Noun used as an adjective

Example: Andrew's beautiful little rusty new American log cabin hideaway is quaint.
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Coordinate Adjectives can come before or after the noun; and they do NOT need to follow specific order. They can be separated by commas.

Example: The captain's enthusiastic, supportive encouragement gave the team members great confidence.
The dog was lonely, abandoned, hungry and lost.