an eloquent delicate female voice

can I string these together without using "and"?

  • In what context do you want to string them together? There are several possible contexts where that "string" might be used. So how about you provide an example sentence or two that show your indended usage? – user6951 Mar 9 '15 at 5:42
  • It is, in both AmE and BrE: string, strung, strung. That is, the standard past tense and past participle of the verb string is... strung, at least in contemporary English. (This comment refers to changing your use of "stringed" to "strung" in your question's title.) – user6951 Mar 9 '15 at 5:51
  • Note: I have edited the title since the above comment. – Jim Reynolds Mar 9 '15 at 6:10
  • possible duplicate of Putting a comma between adjectives – Jim Reynolds Mar 9 '15 at 9:51

The answer depends on whether your adjectives are cumulative or coordinating to the noun they modify.

Cumulative Adjectives

As constructed, your sentence is:

"She had an eloquent delicate female voice."

This sentence has a cumulative structure of adjectives. The adjective closest to the noun works with it as a unit and all the other adjectives are cumulative to that unit. The adjectives do not separately modify the noun and their positions are not interchangeable.

Coordinating Adjectives

On the other hand:

"She had an eloquent delicate silvery voice."

This sentence has a coordinating structure of adjectives. Each separately modifies the noun. You may also be able to rearrange the order of the adjectives with no difficulty (except in the case where the order is logically fixed and the change conforms to articles and determiners). You can also test this by putting a hypothetical conjunction between the last two adjectives to test this. The sentence, in formal writing, would need commas:

"She had an eloquent, delicate, and silvery voice."

Other Notes

One note about commas: you may not need the last comma [between delicate and silvery] if it is clear that those two adjectives are not intended to act as a unit. For example:

"She had an eloquent, delicate, powerful and far-reaching voice."

Keep in mind that the above only apply to formal writing. In creative writing modes, none of this may apply and the writer generally has more freedom in respect to the adherence of grammar conventions. You could skip commas altogether and even add the same, or different, conjunctions between each modifier if you wished.


Yes, you can, although I would probably insert a comma like that:

an eloquent, delicate female voice

But back to your general question - yes, you can string adjectives without having to connect them with "and". It will depend on the context which alternative sounds better. Also, don't overdo it, unless you're seeking comedic effect:

I live in an old, brown, creaky, dusty, god-forsaken building.

  • -1 This answer can be improved if you can provide sources or reasons for your statements. If you are answering simply based on your own experience or feelings, that's ok, but let us know if that's the case. – Jim Reynolds Mar 9 '15 at 6:09
  • 1
    @JimReynolds Which statement would you like me to provide sources for? The ability to modify a noun by more than one adjective without inserting multiple 'and'-s is fairly basic English. I understand where you're coming from, but downvoting my answer seems a bit much. – RuslanD Mar 9 '15 at 7:10
  • If it helps, they're called coordinate adjectives. – Catija Mar 9 '15 at 7:27
  • See also "the royal order of adjectives" on this page; grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm#order -- if you follow this order you can minimize commas. – Brian Hitchcock Mar 9 '15 at 9:10
  • This question is a duplicate. Please also see this, and this. If you still have questions after looking at the answers, comments, and linked reference materials from those pages, please tell us what you know, and if you stilk have questions, why you are confused. Meanwhile, maybe you have stimulated some of us to improve the answers that I've mentioned. I vote to close this question as duplicate. – Jim Reynolds Mar 9 '15 at 9:46

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