Is there a rule for an order for two continuous adjectives? For example, If I want to say the warm house of the Scottish

a) "Scottish warm house"

b) "Warm Scottish house"

then is there one form that's better that the other? Or are there any difference between the above sentences?


The British Council for English states

We usually put a general opinion in front of a specific opinion:

  • Nice tasty soup.
  • A nasty uncomfortable armchair
  • A lovely intelligent animal

Now the point they also make is that

Usually we put an adjective that gives an opinion in front of an adjective that is descriptive:

  • a nice red dress
  • a silly old man
  • those horrible yellow curtains

In this statement, red and yellow describes the colour of the dress and curtains respectively, and old is describing the man's age.

If the adjective Scottish is descriptive, (which it is as it is describing the location of the house), then the correct order of the adjectives you are using is warm, Scottish

Warm, Scottish house

Addition to answer

Think of it this way...

A cold brick room could be understood differently to a brick cold room. The reason being that a cold brick room will be understood to be a brick room which is cold, however a brick cold room could be understood to be a cold room (a room used as a cold storage room, for example, in a shop or restaurant) made of brick. This is why it is important for the correct order of adjectives to be used to prevent misunderstanding.

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  • Thank you for your answer. You've said "If the adjective Scottish is descriptive, (which it is as it is describing the location of the house), then the correct order of the adjectives you are using is warm, Scottish". Then what would be if I would change the Scottish with Christian, now it doesn't describe the location – Judicious Allure Jan 29 '17 at 5:29
  • @AdorableSpectacle - Christian house would describe the people living in the house as Christian – Chris Rogers Jan 29 '17 at 11:15
  • And then it would be better to say "Christian warm house" or "Warm christian house"? – Judicious Allure Jan 29 '17 at 14:00
  • @AdorableSpectacle - As indicated in my answer it would be Warm Christian house – Chris Rogers Jan 29 '17 at 15:43

Scottish warm house

assumes that there is something called a "warm house" and it is Scottish


Scottish hot house

would be a "hot house" in Scotland, "hot house" is a specific term.

warm Scottish house

assumes there is something called a "Scottish house" which is "warm" either in temperature or character.

Since there is usually not something called a "warm house" the second is preferable.

tall, white, warm, Scottish house

would be a usual ordering for those adjectives, other permutations are possible, but this one sounds most natural to this native speaker.

There is no set rule for which adjectives should appear in which order.

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As a non-native speaker with, hopefully, some flair for the English language I would say that "Scottish warm house" might be interpreted as "house that is warm in a Scottish way", whereas "warm Scottish house" is less likely to be interpreted in that way. This in addition to the answers by @Chris and @Peter.

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