The logic of adjectives

Check out this essay by Minda Zetlin explaining the ordering of adjectives. Among other things, her essay brought Mark Forsyth’s beautiful book The Elements of Eloquence to our attention. In his book (see screenshot below) Forsyth gives the following memorable example to illustrate the logic of adjectives: “a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife.” Simply put, one cannot move the order of any of those adjectives without having the sentence sound completely wrong. According to Forsyth, there are eight types of adjectives, and they should be used in the following order:

1. Opinion

2. Size

3. Age

4. Shape

5. Color

6. Origin

7. Material

8. Purpose

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.48.56 PM

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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