I thought the following rule was set in stone: don't use 'and' between a pair of adjectives preceding a noun:


However, someone in the comments on the following question disagrees, saying: it's not a hard rule, it's a matter of style, and here are some examples to back it up.


I thought to get confirmation and a second opinion.


It can probably be generalized to a list

Is it better to list adjectives, with an "and"?


Thanks for confirming what @Lambie said. I have to admit that

It involves a technological, theoretical challenge

didn't sound so good, or at least

It involves a technological and theoretical challenge

sounded better (in the first place).

Moreover, the link that I supplied does say in the beginning that there are exceptions such as a black and white shirt.


Regarding the suggested link

Commas for multiple adjectives

It suggests a test for coordinate adjectives. First, the test of replacing the comma with an 'and' doesn't clearly say (like @Anton confirmed) that it's a correct option that can be used (until @Lambie corrected me, I thought you can't use 'and' at all). In both cases, it says you shouldn't.

Moreover, according to the test, both of my examples

  1. It involves a technological and theoretical challenge.
  2. He wore a black and white shirt.

fulfill the coordinate adjective test, and the link says that comma should be used instead of 'and'. I believe this to be incorrect.

If I had to guess, I think the rule might be related to the order of adjectives:


If the adjectives belong to the same category, then they would naturally pass the coordinate adjective test. However, since they belong to the same category, 'and' should be used instead of a comma. At least I think it applies to my two examples above.

A link on the subject that might be useful:


  • 1
    Yes, that person was me. There isn't a "hard rule". However, you do have to know what works and what doesn't and in what kind of text. Here's another: Of immediate concern too is the fear that the harsh and brutal regime of Gadhafi will be replaced with yet another suppressive regime as is often the case with violent revolutions. thespec.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editors/2011/10/23/…
    – Lambie
    May 21 at 23:47
  • Thanks again @Lambie.
    – Zohar Levi
    May 22 at 11:03
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Commas for multiple adjectives "A good test to see if the adjectives are coordinate is to see if you can replace the comma with an 'and' and preserve the meaning of the sentence. 'That ugly, hairy monster looks hungry.' ... 'That ugly and hairy monster looks hungry.' " May 22 at 15:57
  • @EdwinAshworth, please see 'EDIT 3' above.
    – Zohar Levi
    May 24 at 11:08
  • 'A black and white shirt' essentially uses the compound modifier 'black and white'. The shirt is neither (appying the Gricean maxim of sensible default interpretation) a black shirt nor a white shirt. The 'and' is an essential part of the compound premodifier black and white, though the hyphens one might once have seen have been dropped. May 24 at 15:00

Both links contain some poor-grade advice, attempting to make rules for the sake of rule-making rather than seeking clarity, lack of ambiguity and consistency of thought. This leads to inevitable and understandable confusion and to the questioning of a well-used and widely acceptable style.

Literature is replete with examples such as @Lambie’s “harsh and brutal regime”, “long and hard fight”, “short and sweet affair”. There is no need for me to quote: a Google search produces a good choice, even for these three.

  • Sorry, I find this far from adequate. May 22 at 16:00
  • @EdwinAshworth I rather thought you might. I can only imagine your reasons but I sympathise. The problem here is that the two offered links offer so much material for analysis and criticism that the answer would become too long and split too much between this question and the links' material. Similarly for the supply of quotations - there are too many too easily found in a google search for it to be worth quoting them here. I opted for brevity but I neither refute nor object to your opinion.
    – Anton
    May 22 at 18:25
  • ELU is aimed at providing a comprehensive analysis of and guide to English semantics, grammar, punctuation .... It uses questions as vehicles rather than offering a simplistic Q & A service. Where questions essentially solicit a quick fix that isn't in line with a comprehensive overview, the quick fix answer is almost always inappropriate. May 22 at 18:36

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