Could you tell me which is correct in the following situation:

I have one parrot, its feathers are of different colors. Which is the correct way to speak about the parrot:

  1. I have a parrot. It is blue and white and green and yellow.
  2. I have a parrot. It is blue, white, green, and yellow.

Some say that the 1st variant is obsolete, the second is correct. Others tell me the 1st is correct, while the pattern of enumeration in the second option suits the situation when one speaks about several objects, not one.

So which one is correct? May be you can suggest a grammar book where this rule is stated?

  • The second is much better than the first - gsbe.co.uk/grammar-lists.html - you may find discussion about a comma before the and
    – mplungjan
    Dec 6 '13 at 10:50
  • For a list of several adjectives, I would like to suggest reading this nice article, quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/commas-with-adjectives. Dec 6 '13 at 10:52
  • 1. You are right. There is the distinction. 2. However, in contemporary writing, that distinction is not taken care of, with the author expecting the audience to fend for themselves in interpreting according to context.
    – Kris
    Dec 6 '13 at 13:42

Both are grammatically correct; which you should prefer depends on the meaning you wish to convey.

I have a parrot. It is blue, white, green, and yellow.

is a matter-of-fact statement about the plumage of your parrot. But

I have an elephant. It is blue and white and green and yellow.

would emphasise the amazing pigmentation of your elephant, which would indeed be one of the wonders of the world. A child might prefer the repeated and because to a child, everything is fresh and marvellous.

Again, my parrot is blue and white and green and yellow could be used to contrast it to someone else's grotty old parrot, which is only black and white.


Both are grammatical. The choice between the two is a matter of style, depending on the effect you're aiming for and on the rest of the text.

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