[Ads-l] BBC Trend Blog: Adjectival word order

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 17 15:49:17 EDT 2016

Linguistics in the news.

Website: BBC Trending Blog by Megha Mohan
Article: Why the green great dragon can't exist
Date:  September 6, 2016

[Begin excerpt]
. . . a tweet about the correct order in which to use adjectives.

The tweet by Matthew Anderson, the editor of BBC Culture contained a
screengrab from a 2013 book "The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn
the Perfect English Phrase", and has been retweeted many thousands of

The order of adjectives, according to the book's author Mark Forsyth,
has to be: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose.

"If you mess with that word order in the slightest you'll sound like a
maniac, he warns in the extract. "It's an odd thing that every English
speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And
as size comes before colour, green great dragons can't exist."
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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