Tuesday, 2 September 2014
The complicated strange business of stacking up adjectives
There was recently a nice Slate article on adjective ordering. I won't repeat it all here, as you can go and read it if you're interested, but it seems to me to be a very clear and interesting description of which order adjectives can appear in, and why it's weird to say bad big wolf rather than big bad wolf. It discusses the clearly sensible idea that a more 'intrinsic' or 'permanent' or 'inherent' property is closer to the noun than a temporary one (happy French student vs. *French happy student), but also notes the fact that not all adjective orders can be determined that way, and some orders are actually in contradiction to that idea. It also provides a spectacularly unmemorable mnemonic, GSSSACPM.