Re: Technical adj. stack question

Subject: Re: Technical adj. stack question
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 15:26:34 GMT

On Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:20:22 -0800, Sella wrote:

> Here's how that particular sentence went out : Objects
>are stored in a multi-tiered, dynamically hashed, persistent subsystem,
>creating fast scalable access to any size object. (my contribution was
>to put commas in the adj. stack and delete the word "storage" before
>subsystem.)

This made me remember (misremember?) something I learned from a
professor long ago: that commas are placed in an adjective series if
the type of the adjective is the same. I was trying to find a source
for this, but I'm failing. The only reference I can find to adjective
order is in _A Survey of Modern Grammars_, by Jeanne H. Herndon, and
she makes no mention of comma use.

(Sella: Your sentence is correct in my (mis?)remembered analysis,
since the adjective clumps seem to fall in the "other physical
features" category.)

The adjective types are (this list is in the order they appear in a
normal English sentence):
Determiner, ordinal number, cardinal number, general impression, size,
other physical features, color, Nationality, Material, subcategory.

Example sentence that uses one of each type: These first two elegant
large curved gold French brocade antique chairs were my grandmother's.

To use a shorter example, you'd be unlikely to say "We have a white
fuzzy cute little kitten." Instead, you have a "We have a cute little
fuzzy white kitten."

Chicago says don't use commas in this series if you use the "open
style" of punctuation, but says nothing of adjective order. Does
anyone have a more definitive source?

Thanks!

Barb

P.S.:
>in "worth their metal") should have been mettle. I learned something
>new.
You weren't flat-out wrong - "mettle" is a variant of "metal" (I
learned something, too - I didn't even know the words were related).
In this context, though, it's typically spelled mettle. Isn't English
great?

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