Could I use two adjectives in this type of construction?

"My car is red clean." Meaning my car is red only when it's clean. Otherwise it's muddy.

The actual sentence that troubles me is "This soup it is best scalding."

Shall I use the italic script obligatorily?


  • 2
    My car is read when it's clean. "red clean" does not work. "This soup is best when scalding hot. Not: the soup it is best scalding. The fish is best eaten raw. The book is best read at night.
    – Lambie
    Nov 25, 2017 at 18:04
  • Thanks so much! The initial sentence was not containing the superfluous pronoun "it", I only added it myself here unwittingly. Your explanation is exactly what I needed. Seemingly I'm trying to change English language in Twitter slang. Shame on me. :) Thanks again for the help.
    – user65007
    Nov 25, 2017 at 18:07
  • 3
    Compare: Vengeance is a dish best served cold. served cold is not an adjective.
    – TimR
    Nov 25, 2017 at 22:03
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo You're right. I was trying to keep the sentence as simple as possible avoiding a verb or other word to modify the second adjective. In your example is the verb "served" the one modifying the adjective. At least that's what my humble grammar understands.
    – user65007
    Nov 26, 2017 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


In English you can use paired adjectives (coordinate adjectives/cumulative adjectives) and most people do it a lot but what you have here isn't a group of paired adjectives.

If you wish to say that your car is red only when it's clean then the obvious phrase is:

  • My car is red (only) when it's clean.

However, even this is practically illogical since the paint on your car doesn't change as it gets dirtier. I'm not a native speaker but I'd say something like this instead:

  • My car is juicy red when it's not dirty.

As for the soup, you should say:

  • This soup is best when it's scalding.

You can use the reduced clause and omit "it is" in either example:

  • My car is red when clean.
  • This soup is best when scalding.

This will provide you with the shortest possible way of saying that you want.

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