I watched a video on youtube. Its title was:

Is Andy Smarter Than a Child Genius?

I think it should be: Is Andy Smarter Than a Genius Child?

So, why the adjective comes after the noun "Child"?

Will that make a difference in meaning?

  • 5
    There is no adjective in the phrase: genius and child are both nouns. Nov 4, 2016 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


Changing the order of the words changes the emphasis. "Genius Child" means "a child who is a genius" and could imply that the child is smart relative to other children. "Child Genius" means "a genius who is a child" and could imply that the child is smart relative to most other people, adults included.

  • 1
    Superficially this seems "logical", but I don't think many native speakers would apprehend the somewhat contrived distinction. The main thing they'd be likely to think on hearing My son is a genius child is just that the speaker isn't a native Anglophone. Nov 4, 2016 at 17:43
  • @FumbleFingers I would disagree. They may not think through the distinction, but native speakers are well accustomed to the order and precedence of nouns and adjectives, and would 'sense' the distinction in speech.
    – Dan
    Nov 7, 2016 at 9:56

As this NGram shows, it's always child genius, never genius child...

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As @StoneyB comments, strictly speaking both genius and child are nouns. In principle, either could be used adjectivally (as a noun adjunct, attributive noun, noun premodifier, converted adjective).

But in practice we rarely if ever use genius adjectivally, whereas combinations like a child ticket, a child seat, a child prodigy are well-established idiomatic usages. That's why we prefer child genius.

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