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Thread: Put the adjectives in order?

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    Put the adjectives in order?

    Hello! I have a question.In our University they teach us that If there are several premodifuing adjectives to one headword they have definite positional assignments. and if there are several adjectives of each type,they stand in the following order: Adj. denoting size, Adj. denoting colour, Adj. denoting form, Adj. denoting age, Limiting Adj. and then a noun. But the order in different books is different. Please, say if it is really so important to put adjectives in spesial order?

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    Yes, it is very important.
    Sorry.
    I'm not joking. It really is.

    The list you have given is not complete. I remember, for example, that adjectives indicating a subjective judgement (like "terrible") have a certain position - at the beginning? But a native speaker of English has all of these rules internalized subconsciously. If you break the rules, your speech will sound awkward and you will immediately be recognized as a non-native speaker.

    Of course there are some exceptions and a few uncertain cases, so it's possible that certain books will give different lists. But you should learn the rules if you want to speak English to a high standard.
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    Really?

    I'm not sure if this is all that important. Could you please give some examples of usage that you think is right, and usage that you think is wrong? Also, what is meant by a "limiting adjective"?
    "Музыка, всюду музыка.
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    Все, что можно уже нарушено."
    -- "Пространство между нами" by Ядерный сок

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    "Pass me the big blue book please."

    "Pass me the blue big book (ALERT ALERT, FOREIGNER TALKING, SIRENS, BREAKING GLASS, FINGERNAILS BEING DRAGGED DOWN A BLACKBOARD) please."

    Can you feel the difference in style?

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    I suppose, that sometimes the word order is very important, but not always.

    Can you explain the difference in understanding between the sentences:

    She has long pretty dark hair.
    She has got dark long pretty hair.


    She has got shoulder-length wavy red hair.
    She has got shoulder-length red wavy hair?


    May be it's a part of English culture? And we can't understand them and should just learn by heart these rule?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuta
    I suppose, that sometimes the word order is very important, but not always.

    Can you explain the difference in understanding between the sentences:

    She has long pretty dark hair.
    She has got dark long pretty hair.

    An american would long dark hair that is pretty.
    She has got shoulder-length wavy red hair.
    She has got shoulder-length red wavy hair?

    An American would say: Does she have shoulder length wavy red hair?
    May be it's a part of English culture? And we can't understand them and should just learn by heart these rule?
    I am an American, I an understyood all of those. Just stylistic changes that I noted!

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    Thank you!!!

    Well, thanks a lot guys! Actually, I expected that everything is much easier! But what shall I do?- STUDY ENGLIH!
    And one more thing(for ядерное лицо): limiting adjectives denote a specific category, a part of a whole, a number. E.g. the previous page, medical aid, the left hand. Among limiting adjectives single out the object or substance, impart a concrete or unique meaning to it, specify it.

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    Somewhere I read that there are 21 categories of adjectives whose positions are determined by these kinds of rules.

    >She has long pretty dark hair.
    >She has got dark long pretty hair.
    >She has got shoulder-length red wavy hair

    These don't sound good to me, although understandable, they are a little "off."

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    I would say, "She has long, dark, pretty hair". Anyone who disagrees with me........ is a foreigner, OK?
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    You would always put the adjective "pretty" closest to the noun over all other adjectives. because if you don't you can get confused:

    pretty dark hair (very dark hair)
    dark pretty hair (dark and pretty!)
    pretty long hair (very long hair)
    long pretty hair (long and pretty!)
    pretty dark long hair (very dark, long hair)
    pretty long dark hair (very long, dark hair)
    long pretty dark hair (long, very dark hair)
    dark pretty long hair (dark, very long hair)
    pretty down dark and pretty darn long hair (extremely dark and extremely long... hair.)
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    I had never noticed this mattered before.
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    The problem with that specific example, is that 'pretty' is ambiguous, as it has two meanings.

    It can be an adjective meaning "attractive", but it can also be an adverb meaning "quite" or "very".

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, by David Crystal,
    ADJECTIVE ZONES

    Examples such as the following suggest that there are four main 'zones' within the pre-modifying section of a noun phrase, here labelled I, II, III and IV.

    I've got the same big red garden chairs as you.
    -----------------I----II--III----IV-------------------

    IV Words which are usually nouns, or closely related to nouns, are placed next to the head. They include nationality adjectives (American, Gothic), noun-like adjectives which mean 'involving' or 'relating to' (medical, social), and straightforward nouns (tourism brochure, Lancashire factory). Thus we say:

    an old Lancashire factory not *a Lancashire old factory
    a bright medical student not *a medical bright student

    III Participles and colour adjectives are placed immediately in front of any in zone IV: missing, deserted, retired, stolden, red, green. Thus we say:

    an old red suit not *a red old suit
    the red tourism brochures not *the tourism red brochures

    I Adjectives with an absolute or intensifying meaning come first in the sequence, immediately after the determiner and its satellites: same, certain, entire, sheer, definite, perfect, superb. Thus we say:

    the entire American army not *the American entire army
    the perfect red suit not *the red perfect suit

    II All other adjectives (the vast majority in the language) occur in this zone: big, slow, angry, helpful, and all this in the advertising caption above [Why do you think we make Nuttall's Mintoes such a devilishly smooth cool creamy minty chewy round slow velvety fresh clean solid buttery taste?] Thus we say:

    a superb old house not *an old superb house (with a zone I item)
    an old stolen car not *a stolen old car (with a zone III item)
    an old social disease not *a social old disease (with a zone IV item)

    There are also signs of 'zones within zones'. For example, we tend to say a beautiful new dress not a new beautiful dress, suggesting tht evaluative adjectives in zone II precede other kinds of adjectives there. We also tend to say a recognizable zig-zag pattern no a zig-zag recognisable pattern, suggesting that more abstract adjectives precede more concrete ones. But, as the word 'tend' suggests, the rules are not hard and fast.
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    Well that pretty much sums it up, Darobat, good work!
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
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    If you want to do it a little more easily than memorizing all those rules, think of it this way:

    (1) Absolute/intensifying goes first: same, entire, certain,...

    (2) Vague before specific.

    (3) Size/age/number/other before color. "big blue book"

    (4) What are you talking about??? In "bright medical student" vs. "medical bright student," we are basically talking about a "medical student." That is the key thing. "Old garden chair" vs. "garden old chair," we are talking about a specific thing called a "garden chair." Try to think of it as a "German" noun, how the Germans would smush the words together. If they'd smush (gardenchair), don't break them apart.

    So all you have to remember is:

    Absolute, vague, number, color, germannoun

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    A numeral or an adjective of quantity must precede all other adjectives.
    According to one Soviet textbook written for Russian-to-English translators, the order is: size, shape/form, age, color, material, nationality. It seems right to me.
    To that I would add that qualifying adjectives should be placed at the left, especially a comparative/superlative which should precede everything but a numeral or an expression of quantity; and that defining adjectives should appear immediately before the noun.

    Well, after I spent twenty minutes looking for that book, I found a web page which summarizes it even better (about three clicks down the page):
    http://www.fortunecity.com/bally/dur.../gramch21.html

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    One more note: Don't ever use have/has/had got.
    All it does is to turn a simple past tense form into a present perfect form where the present perfect tense is usually not called for.
    If you really do intend the present perfect, as a synonym for have/has/had received or have/has/had acquired, then just use a form with received or acquired.

    Also, got is not a synonym for have/has in the present tense.

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    Not sure quite what you are saying, but I've got a suggestion - don't believe everything you read on the net!

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    Typical UNC product... find a Duke or better yet a UVa grad to read it to you.

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    UNC? Duke? UVa?
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
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    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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