Saturday, 4 March 2017

A Write Old Muddle

Well here's a funny thing that I learnt in a Facebook article the other day.  Did you know that English speakers use a very specific order when there are several adjectives before a word? Us natives know how to do it almost instinctively but it drives those who are learning our language nuts.  The order goes:

Quantity or number
Quality or opinion.
Size.
Age.
Shape.
Colour
Proper adjective
Purpose or qualifier

And if you don't believe me, try mixing them up.  There are multi-coloured, little, wonderful, five kittens in the blog's picture today!

14 comments:

  1. Five.Little. Wonderful.Multi coloured. Though actually I think the last 2 words could be either way! The are very cute. I have always had tabbies. Our last tabby died a week ago....he was nearly 18.

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    1. Oh bless - a good innings though still sad. xx

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  2. Learning British English does ones head in at times, but when accomplished, we wonder why so many native speakers make so many mistakes!

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    1. It's complicated and tricky for us too! xx

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  3. Well I never noticed that before!

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  4. I love language and all its little foibles so my brain automatically put the adjectives in the correct order and I had to re read to see what you had actually written! Catriona

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    1. Glad to provide a little puzzle! xx

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  5. I wonder if other languages have the same order? If English-speaking people learn French, for example, I guess we would follow this order automatically and it's probably similar in French as we are both more or less Latin based, but what about German? That is so interesting, and I had no idea!

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    1. I remember when I was doing an Open University French course I seemed to have had a rather large book explaining all the grammatical rules! xx

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  6. I heard something of this on a Radio 4 programme a little while ago, Thinking Aloud perhaps? It made perfect sense to me.

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  7. That should read: Thinking Allowed, I apologise.

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    1. Ooh I never knew that that was the correct name for that radio programme. I always thought that the version you'd wrote first was its name. xx

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  8. I had never thought of that! Good to know. I once had a French-speaking friend who thought the hardest part of learning English was the prepositions. For example, "to go down" is just one word in French, "descendre."

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