comma btw adjective and participle: the screaming, white-haired man's

Rabelaisian

Senior Member
English - Canadian
Adjective commas really drive me nuts sometimes. For example:

He held it over the screaming, white-haired man's left-hand palm.

Should I keep that comma or lose it?

Thanks.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I read the comma as somehow equivalent to "and".
    If you had several white-haired men and wanted to specify the screaming one, you would leave the comma out.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    If you had several white-haired men and wanted to specify the screaming one, you would leave the comma out.
    This would be: "There were seven white-haired men in the room. He walked over to the dyspeptic white-haired man and asked who the richest, most famous white-haired man there was. Meanwhile, the screaming white-haired man..."

    Here, "white-haired man" doesn't seem to be motivated as a unit. So "white-haired" is modifying "man" along with "screaming," and there should be a comma between them.
     
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