SERIES – A series consists of three or more words, phrases, or subordinate clauses of a similar kind. A series can occur in any part of a sentence.
WORDS: The subway car was crowded, noisy, and dirty. I like to put ham, pepperoni, turkey, and cheese on my deli sandwiches.
PHRASES: We explored the city by bus, by train, and by car. CLAUSES: The survey revealed that many New Yorkers were satisfied with the mayor, that they supported the new laws, and that they wanted the fiscal policy to continue.
CONFUSING: The crowds, the aromas from the hot dog carts and the talkative taxi drivers made the trip memorable. ALWAYS CLEAR: The crowds, the aromas from the hot dog carts, and the talkative taxi drivers made the trip memorable.
EXAMPLE: We wanted to watch the game and eat hotdogs and then see the fireworks.
EXAMPLE: We ate grilled cheese sandwiches, baloney sandwiches, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
When two or more adjectives precede a noun, they sometimes will need to be separated with commas. REMEMBER – THE ADJECTIVES NEED TO BE MODIFYING THE SAME NOUN
Adjectives are equal in rank if you can insert the word and between them without changing the meaning of the sentence. Another way to determine whether adjectives are of equal rank is to reverse the order in which they appear. If the sentence still sounds correct, the adjectives are of equal rank.
EXAMPLES: A tall, majestic building rose above the skyline. Or A majestic, tall building rose above the skyline.
Or A tall and majestic building rose above the skyline. The bright, bold sign was posted above the door.
IF YOU CANNOT PLACE THE WORD AND BETWEEN THE ADJECTIVES OR REVERSE THEIR ORDER WITHOUT CHANGING THE MEANING OF THE SENTENCE, DO NOT USE COMMAS BETWEEN THEM.
EXAMPLES: The second-oldest building in the city was renovated.