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  1. #1
    chance22 is offline Member
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    Default order of adjectives

    I have learned that usually size comes after the general adjective, but people say a large friendly dog instead of a friendly large dog. Is there a rule behind it? Is it because friendly is used to modify dog that this kind of order is used? Are there some other similar exceptions?

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    If other posters show me that my answer is all wet (wrong), I'll delete it.
    You have been asked more than once not to do this. Even if your answer were completely wrong, learners could still benefit from understanding that even native speakers can make mistakes.

    My own opininion is that 'large, friendly dog' is, without more context, more natural than 'friendly, large dog'. The fact that you and I, two native speakers, disagree on this can be very useful for learners - they know that they don't have to worry too much.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    I also find "friendly large dog" rather unnatural and I would always choose to say "large friendly dog" no matter what the "rules" of adjective order say. Sometimes, what sounds natural flies in the face of what you will find in grammar textbooks.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Thank you, 5jj and emsr2d2, for your answers to chance22's excellent question.

    I am furious with myself for answering before checking my references.

    I am suspending myself for one week from trying to answer any questions. During that time, I shall try to

    study up on adjective placement.


    Good evening from California.


    James

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    I am suspending myself for one week from trying to answer any questions.
    Bit over-dramatic, don't you think?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Self-flagellation is hardly necessary in this case.

    At our time of life, James, we can't afford to devote a whole week to adjective placement.

  7. #7
    chance22 is offline Member
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Thank you all for the reply. I always learn a lot in this kind of discussion. I like this forum very much.

  8. #8
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    You have been asked more than once not to do this. Even if your answer were completely wrong, learners could still benefit from understanding that even native speakers can make mistakes.
    I couldn't agree more, and may I add a few words to your reply? I'm sorry if this too off-topic...

    I, for one, I consider deleting your reply after other people have addressed it in subsequent posts to be an example of poor forum etiquette. Why? Well let's say George addresses a question from a learner. Then Tony comes along and he notices that George provided an incorrect answer. Tony says, 'George, I disagree with you and here's why.' Later that day, George reads Tony's reply and thinks to himself 'Gee whiz, I was so wrong. Oh well, I'll just delete my reply!' Then Teddy comes along and he has no idea what this thread is about, as Tony's reply addresses a message which isn't there anymore. You see what I mean? A thread can become confusing if people start deleting their replies.

    Here's what I'd do if I were "all wet":

    Original message:

    'Used you to be a teacher?' is an ungrammatical construction and no native speaker would use it.

    Edited message.

    'Used you to be a teacher?' is an unnatural question and no native speaker would say it.

    Edit. I stand corrected. This construction is grammatical and it used to be common many years ago, but it's rare nowadays. See post #12.

    So, James, could you please not remove your posts in the future? I enjoy reading your well-researched posts and I hope that you will reconsider your temporary suspension . It's OK to be wrong and one needn't take such radical measures . A simple amendment does the trick without disrupting the thread.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 14-Nov-2012 at 16:31. Reason: typos + removed an unnecessary paragraph

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by chance22 View Post
    Is there a rule behind it?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Chance:


    I have found some information for you. [My opinion: This info has greatly helped me.]

    1. Most "adjective order charts" say that an "opinion adjective" comes before a "size adjective."

    [My opinion: I think that "friendly" is an opinion adjective; "large," a size adjective.]

    2. BUT -- as 5jj and emsr taught us -- native speakers usually break this "rule" when they use the size adjective

    "large."

    3. Someone did a Google search. He discovered:

    a. Most native speakers also prefer to say "big (size) beautiful (opinion) X."

    b. But native speakers DO follow the rule in saying "Ugly (opinion) little (size) X."

    4. Why do native speakers make an exception for "big"?

    a. It may be a matter of RHYTHM.

    (i) One short adjective followed by a long adjective may sound better to native speakers:

    big, beau-ti-ful X.
    nice, el-e-gant X.
    warm, com-fort-a-ble X.

    [My opinion: I think that this may also apply to "large, friend-ly dog."]

    *****

    All of this insight is credited to an online teacher named "Richard." I do not know how to link. To read his article, please go to Google and type these words:


    Adjective Order - Topic grammarexchange December 17, 2008

  10. #10
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post

    I do not know how to link.
    Try this, James:

    1. Click on the URL (it usually begins 'www.') at the top of the page. It will turn blue.

    2. Hold down Ctrl and touch c on your keyboard (this copies the URL).

    3. Start a new thread called Linking.

    4. Type 'link' and highlight it.

    5. Click on the globe icon above (on the same line as B I and U ; it says 'Link' when you point to it).

    6. Hold down Ctrl and touch v (this puts the URL in the box).

    7. Click OK and post the message.

    Test it by clicking on 'Link'. This entire thread - order of adjectives should appear.

    Don't worry about messing up the board—we can tidy it up later.

    Rover
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 17-Nov-2012 at 13:13.

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