Coordinate and Noncoordinate Adjectives Exercise (65)

In each of the sentences below, determine whether the two adjectives are coordinate, which means that they are interchangeable and should therefore be separated by a comma or a conjunction, or noncoordinate, meaning that the first adjective modifies the phrase consisting of the second adjective and the noun.

    1.
    The dry dusty road stretched on ahead.
    The dry, dusty road stretched on ahead.

    2.
    I have to take care of my bratty, little brother today.
    I have to take care of my bratty little brother today.

    3.
    She wore a bright, green dress to the party.
    She wore a bright green dress to the party.

    4.
    A big loud explosion rocked the building.
    A big, loud explosion rocked the building.

    5.
    Screenings of the popular, new film are selling out at theaters all over the country.
    Screenings of the popular new film are selling out at theaters all over the country.

Answers and Explanations

1. The dry, dusty road stretched on ahead.
Dry and dusty both describe the road, so they are coordinate.

2. I have to take care of my bratty little brother today.
Bratty modifies "little brother," so bratty and little are not coordinate.

3. She wore a bright green dress to the party.
Bright describes what kind of green the dress is, not the dress itself, so the two adjectives are not coordinate.

4. A big, loud explosion rocked the building.
The explosion can be described as both big and loud, so the adjectives are coordinate.

5. Screenings of the popular new film are selling out at theaters all over the country.
The film is both popular and new, but new modifies film, and popular modifies "new film," so the adjectives are noncoordinate.

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