I've used these perhaps a little too much, maybe as much as one or two per chapter and I didn’t even know it was a style crime.
We all know that in some circumstances we should use a comma to separate a pair of adjectives that describe the same noun.
The Owl defines the rule quite clearly and there is even a test to make sure they are coordinate and not cumulative adjectives:
6. Use commas to separate two or more coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun. Be sure never to add an extra comma between the final adjective and the noun itself or to use commas with non-coordinate adjectives.
They’ve been bothering me since I read Allen Guthrie's Infamous Writing Tips on the Absolute Write Water Cooler Forums.
Here’s a snippet:
5: Pairs of adjectives are exponentially worse than single adjectives. The ‘big, old’ man walked slowly towards the ‘tall, beautiful’ girl. When I read a sentence like that, I’m hoping he dies before he arrives at his destination. Mind you, that’s probably a cue for a ‘noisy, white’ ambulance to arrive. Wailingly, perhaps!
Here's Allen Guthrie's tip sheet.
How do you feel about them? Is it OK to use them sparingly or should coordinate adjectives be banned?