General Writing and Grammar Help/adjectives

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QUESTION: Dear Ted,

Can you please tell me if there is a special grammatical term that is used to refer to two adjectives joined by the conjunction “and” or “or” that modify a noun?

For example:

passive or active voice     
as in    “Are you studying the passive or active voice?”

passive and active voice   
as in     “I understand the passive and active voice.”

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich:

Can you please tell me if there is a special grammatical term that is used to
refer to two adjectives joined by the conjunction “and” or “or” that modify a
noun?

For example:

passive or active voice     
as in    “Are you studying the passive or active voice?”

passive and active voice   
as in     “I understand the passive and active voice.”

*** I know of no term that specifically relates to your examples.  [By the way, in your second example you are using "and" as the conjunction, joining the two adjectives.  Thus, you are making a plural, and the last word in the sentence should be VOICES.]

You can make a list of adjectives that modify the same noun:  round Italian pizza pan.  

In that example, the first three words [adjectives] modify the word "pan" [noun].  NOTE:  using more than three adjectives together is considered awkward.

Ted



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ted,

Thank you for your answer and also for the reminder about making the word "voice"  plural.  I appreciate all you do to help me.

I've been searching the Internet since sending you  my question and have discovered the term "coordinate adjectives".

Is it possible that the adjectives "passive" and "active" are  "coordinate adjectives" in the sentence:  "Are you studying the passive or active voice?"


Thank you,

Rich

Answer
Rich:

I was referring to "coordinate adjectives" in my last message of about the pizza pan.  However, that term is not applicable to your example.  Here is the definition from "The Holt Handbook."

"COORDINATE ADJECTIVE -- One of a SERIES of adjectives that modify the same word or word group:  The glen was QUIET, SHADY, and COOL."

I just do not think that there is a special term for only two adjectives.  They are simply "two adjectives."

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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