comma with adjective: hot soapy water

scrimp

Senior Member
English (UK)
Hi Everyone,

Would you say that 'hot soapy water' uses co-ordinate adjectives and therefore needs a comma between hot and soapy, or would you say the sentence uses cumulative adjectives and therefore needs no comma? I am trying to understand cumulative adjectives and finding it a bit tricky!

I have found a sentence in the Oxford dictionary which uses 'warm soapy water' and am therefore leaning towards the cumulative adjectives answer, but would appreciate some other opinions. :)

Thank you in advance!
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    My understanding about two adjectives together is that you can either have a comma or not. I suppose if you mean soapy water that is warm (as opposed to water that is warm and soapy) you shouldn't use the comma.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    When in school I was not given the option of choosing as Nat was apparently. We had to have a comma.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    A comma is needed if the adjectives apply separately to the noun:

    A bright, green light is a green light that is bright. Here, the comma can be seen as a replacement for 'and'.
    A bright green light is a light that is bright green (often 'bright-green light'.)

    The comma is used to avoid ambiguity and is not always needed. I doubt yours needs one as there is no real/important ambiguity.
     
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