I have included a table showing the order visually. The narrowness of the text window when posting means that the formatting is not preserved, so I have included it as a picture at the end. Just Click on the thumbnail.
The Order of Adjectives in a Series
It would take a linguistic philosopher to explain why we say "little brown house" and not "brown little house" or why we say "red Italian sports car" and not "Italian red sports car." The order in which adjectives in a series sort themselves out is perplexing for people learning English as a second language. Most other languages dictate a similar order, but not necessarily the same order. It takes a lot of practice with a language before this order becomes instinctive, because the order often seems quite arbitrary (if not downright capricious). There is, however, a pattern. You will find many exceptions to the pattern in the table below, but it is definitely important to learn the pattern of adjective order if it is not part of what you naturally bring to the language.
The categories in the following table can be described as follows:
Determiners — articles and other limiters.
See Determiners Observation — postdeterminers and limiter adjectives (e.g., a real hero, a perfect idiot) and adjectives subject to subjective measure (e.g., beautiful, interesting)
Size and Shape — adjectives subject to objective measure (e.g., wealthy, large, round)
Age — adjectives denoting age (e.g., young, old, new, ancient)
Color — adjectives denoting color (e.g., red, black, pale)
Origin — denominal adjectives denoting source of noun (e.g., French, American, Canadian)
Material — denominal adjectives denoting what something is made of (e.g., woolen, metallic, wooden)
Qualifier — final limiter, often regarded as part of the noun (e.g., rocking chair, hunting cabin, passenger car, book cover)
So - it's a Chinese saying which is old - 'an old Chinese saying'.
THE ROYAL ORDER OF ADJECTIVES
- For Teachers