A white, stained shirt

99bottles

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He was wearing a white, stained shirt.

He was wearing a stained, white shirt.


Which is the correct order? Whoever helps me will have my gratitude.
 

5jj

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Whoever helps me will have my gratitude.
We don't need that. Just click on the Thank button after one of us has helped you.

Neither of those sentences is incorrect. In most situations, I'd probably produce the second.
 

99bottles

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We don't need that. Just click on the Thank button after one of us has helped you.

Neither of those sentences is incorrect. In most situations, I'd probably produce the second.
There is no thank button anymore. Also, I said this because, a while ago, you told me to ask politely.
 

5jj

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If you hover the cursor over the 'Like' at the bottom right of post, a choice of icons will appear. One of them is a 'thank' symbol.

Saying 'Whoever helps me will have my gratitude' is not a natural way to be polite..
 

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Then why did you use it?
 
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Tdol

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I'd be more likely to use the second as it will always be a white shirt- it's a defining characteristic, and stains can be removed or fade.
 

Skrej

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While the order of adjectives is somewhat flexible, we tend to rank quality (stained) towards the beginning of the list, and color (white) more towards the end of the list.

It's not an absolutely rigid hierarchy however, and you can generally move a category up or down the list a few places, particularly when there are just a couple of adjectives anyway.

If you do some research on the order of adjectives in English, you won't even find a 100% consensus because of that flexibility.

So, I'd go with 'stained white shirt' myself, but I wouldn't be bothered enough with 'white stained shirt' to object about it.
 

jutfrank

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I'm somewhat surprised by the other members' answers, which give the impression that this is a question of personal preference—it isn't.

I believe that the rules governing the order of adjectives are fixed enough to say that the first sentence is wrong without a special reason to deviate from said rules.
 

5jj

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I believe that the rules governing the order of adjectives are fixed enough to say that the first sentence is wrong without a special reason to deviate from said rules.
I believe that we can't say categorically that it's wrong without context to show that it is.
 

jutfrank

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I believe that we can't say categorically that it's wrong without context to show that it is.
That's more or less what I mean when I mention a 'special reason'. Context could reveal why a speaker chose such a word order that deviates from the normal semantic rules.
 
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