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Adjective order Options
Bedells
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 12:59:10 PM

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I found a picture about the order adjectives should have before a noun. The recommendation is that they should follow this pattern:

Opinion, size/height, shape/weight/length, condition/state, age, colour, pattern/design, origin/nationality, material, purpose


I had never thought there was an adjective order, and my ex-teacher, who is American, says he hadn't heard about it either. I wonder whether this is merely a personal preference or there is really an order for the adjectives before a noun.


According to the pattern above, we should describe a bag this way:

an ugly, small, thin, dirty, old, red, striped, Italian, cotton, sleeping bag


Wish to read your comments on this topic and have a great weekend!
Flagman
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 1:39:12 PM

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Hello,

On https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/adjectives-order.htm
they say : "The "normal" order for fact adjectives is size, shape, age, colour / origin / material / purpose".

Have a great week-end, too ! :-)
thar
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 1:40:20 PM

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Your American will never have learnt this because any native speaker just picks it up.

But I bet they call something a big red bus, never a red big bus.
Or a dirty German car, not a German dirty car.

So, yes, there is a definite natural order of adjectives.
I don't know if the whole list is inviolate - there may be a small amount of wriggle room, or there may be none.

The exception is when certain adjectives are used as expletives, not with their normal meaning.

Eg if a car is dirty and big, it is a big, dirty car.

If you are describing a very big car using slang terms, you could call it a dirty big car.
The fact you can even use it that way is because it you know it has to be the slang meaning, because it is too unnatural to be the literal meaning.

I think if you analyse anything written in native level English (taking into account any slang sentences) you will find they do follow this template.
To what extent, I can't estimate..

Edit - I thought that list looked a bit long, which was why I left wriggle room. But your shorter list looks familiar. And that is a template of what is natural. Anything different would sound very odd.

I found an example of the pinnacle of English language composition to test: Whistle

Quote:
It was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
that she wore for the first time today
an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
so in the water she wanted to stay



Yep. Size, size, colour, pattern.
Case proved!
coag
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 2:11:44 PM

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thar wrote:
Or a dirty German car, not a German dirty car.

Volkswagen?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2016 7:53:49 PM

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I'm English English (as opposed to American English or any other sort) and went to grammar school last century (in the 1960s).

Grammar was much more intensively taught as a subject then than it is now. However, like your teacher, I had not heard about this 'list of types' until someone (who was not English) mentioned it a couple of years ago.

As thar says - it is not mentioned to English children. It is something you learn 'by osmosis'.

I just 'know' that it 'sounds awful' if someone says "a polka-dot yellow itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie bikini".

hsakstu
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 1:07:49 AM
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Please note that some people say that using more than 3 adjectives gets cumbersome. Also, the adjective order is just a general guideline.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 6:05:45 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello hsakstu!

Welcome to the forum.

You're right. It is quite rare to hear more than three adjectives in a row.

There are occasions in which one might use a different order of adjectives, but they are very very unusual - usually, to a native person, it sounds really strange.
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