I would like to know the rule of this kind of structure and what is it called if it has a name.

Example : others say that the students will take ethics seriously only if it is taught as a separate, required course.

If you could give me some other example, that would be great.

Thank you.

  • 1
    Those are adjectives, not verbs. – curiousdannii Jul 31 '15 at 0:58
  • The structure seen in a separate, required course is called a noun phrase. – tchrist Jul 31 '15 at 2:18

They are adjectives in apposition to each other. You will know because you could interchange the two words: "Others say that the students will take ethics seriously only if it is taught as a required, separate course.

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The structure you've given is "adjective, adjective noun." The two adjectives are known as "coordinate adjectives," and if they modify their noun independently, they are separated by a comma. In your case, you have a separate course that is also a required course, so the comma is appropriate. If the first adjective modifies the combination of the second adjective and the noun, then no comma should appear:

large attack dog

It's an attack dog and it's huge.

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  • Attack is a not an adjective. Ever. Here it is a noun. It can also be a verb. There are various ways to detect this. One is that you can’t put an attributive noun like this at the front of the noun phrase before its adjectives, which is why an *attack large dog cannot exist. It’s not just the wrong adjective order. It’s completely ungrammatical and makes no sense. – tchrist Jul 31 '15 at 2:12
  • Fine. I should have said "modifier, modifer noun." Here attack acts as an adjective telling us what kind of dog it is. Just as "large" tells what size the dog is. The rule for punctuating the noun phrase is unaffected. – deadrat Jul 31 '15 at 2:31
  • You should edit your answer to say that then. But don't say "acts as an adjective". There are quite a few sorts of noun modifiers, and adjectives are but one example. Plus if it really acted like an adjective, you could move it. But as I have demonstrated, you cannot. It does not act like an adjective. It acts like a noun modifying a noun, and those have a particular position in a noun phrase. – tchrist Jul 31 '15 at 3:50

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