I know the order of adjectives,but I don’t know which sentence is correct?

  1. She has curly shoulder-length red hair.
  2. She has shoulder-length curly red hair.

3 Answers 3


I suspect that most native English speakers would choose your first option.

But if you were engaged in a conversation with someone about this person's hair in which the other speaker said:

I was told that she had short, curly red hair.

You might well reply:

No, she has shoulder-length, curly red hair.

because it's the length of her hair that's of specific interest.

  • Quite. There's at least a tendency to put the contextually most important adjective first (though we sometimes specifically choose to put the more important one last anyway, plus it might make a difference if you were going to place heavy stress on one of them). But if Google Books is to be believed, shoulder-length curly red runs OP's first version a close second. Aug 5, 2018 at 14:38

You'll find that some lists of adjectives go into more detail than others. For example, in the list provided by Cambridge English, size comes before shape

She had shoulder-length, curly, red hair

However, this is only one convention, and I don't think it would be odd to write it the other way around. Plus, as Ronald Sole already mentioned, English speakers tend to put the most contextually important adjectives first.


Of your three adjectives, shoulder-length (size) comes earliest in the order list, then curly (shape) and finally red (colour), so thus: shoulder-length curly red hair.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .