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Ordering adjectives illustration: two people in kilts improbably play catch with a terrific giant old circular grey scottish stone throwing toy

Ordering adjectives

Remarkably, when we describe a noun we almost always, unconsciously, arrange adjectives in this order: opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose.

If you try mixing them up in a different order it just doesn’t sound right. Compare, for example, a super little Italian coffee, to an Italian little super coffee. Or as Mark Forsyth points out in The Elements of Eloquence: How to turn the perfect English phrase, you can have a great green dragon, but not a green great one.

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