Student or Learner
I know there is a particular order for adjectives. Number, opinion, size, etc etc
I have no idea under which category does 'sheltered' fall? It's not an opinion, not a purpose. Or is it? What would it be? In the example below is the order of adjectives correct?
We spent our holiday on the popular, sandy, sheltered, French coast
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
As I type this, no one else has replied yet, so may I start?
(1) Sadly, there is no one rule.
(2) But there is a general rule. The late and beloved Mr. L.G.
Alexander wrote in Longman English Grammar:
General qualities go before particular qualities. The more
particular, the closer the adjective to the noun.
The gentleman says that it often depends on what words you wish to emphasize.
(3) In my opinion only, you have put the adjectives in "correct"
order. Maybe one way to check is to see how that sentence was
The coast. What coast?
The French coast. How would you describe it?
The sheltered French coast. Is there something to describe "the
sheltered French coast"?
The sandy sheltered French coast. What is your opinion of that place?
The beautiful [an opinion] sandy sheltered French coast.
(4) Besides the order of the adjectives, there is also a problem of
commas. And there is often a difference of opinion about whether
commas are needed or not.
(5) In my opinion only, I would punctuate your sentence like this:
We spent our holiday on the beautiful, sandy, and sheltered
(P.S. You want to know how to classify "sheltered." The best
answer I could find was Mr. Alexander's statement that past
participles come close to the head noun. I guess that most
native speakers would not say: the sheltered beautiful, sandy
French coast. BUT if you wanted to emphasize the idea of its
being sheltered, then it would be "correct.")
(6) Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman remind us in
their wonderful The Grammar Book that there is often a choice.
They give this example:
A large porcelain Chinese vase./ A large Chinese porcelain vase.
What a coincidence this morning!!! While I was doing reseach for
this post, I just happened to read this news in my local newspaper:
A blue-and-white Chinese porcelain dragon jar has sold for
$7.7 million, ...
(7) If you google this matter, I am sure that you will find many
results that will keep you busy for weeks. Good luck.