2

I went to Sarah's house, and she showed me her sunny, secret, green yard.

I'm quite sure green goes at the end. And doing a search on ngram I found more results with sunny, secret than secret, sunny, so the one above should be correct. But I wanted a confirmation.

5
  • 1
    Green does go on the end. Sunny and secret can go in either order. And I'm not sure whether the internet results mean anything at all. You have to get rid of all the hits where secret is a noun. Mar 27, 2019 at 18:25
  • 1
    Don't get too hung up on that Royal Order of Adjectives. At best it's only a rough guide (with plenty of exceptions). And your particular set of adjectives (which would probably never occur in any sequence in real life, as a "cascade" of leading adjectives) isn't one where it's really even meaningful to identify a "most likely" order. Mar 27, 2019 at 18:28
  • 1
    @Peter: Surely it would depend on the exact context? To be honest, I can't easily imagine a context where even any two of the cited adjectives might be likely to appear consecutively before yard, but there are lots of written instances of both secret sunny garden and sunny secret garden, where I'd say the difference (if any) is a matter of which adjective the writer thinks is most closely associated with "garden" for his specific context. Mar 27, 2019 at 18:40
  • 1
    There's an interesting article about adjective order here: theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/… I was certainly one of the people who had no idea there was a rule (or, perhaps more accurately, a custom) regarding tjhis.
    – fred2
    Mar 27, 2019 at 20:41
  • If you've got the commas there, the so-called "royal order" doesn't apply even inasmuch as it usually does.
    – SamBC
    Mar 28, 2019 at 21:22

1 Answer 1

3

The most usual order of adjectives is this:

1 a general opinion: exquisite, terrible
1 b specific opinion: friendly, dusty
2 size: big, small, tall
3 physical quality: thin, rough, untidy
4 shape: round, square, rectangular
5 age: young, old, youthful
6 colour: blue, red, pink
7 origin: Dutch, Japanese, Turkish
8 material: metal, wood, plastic
9 type: general-purpose, four-sided, U-shaped
10 purpose: cleaning, hammering, cooking

Thus your order would be, at first glance: secret (opinion) sunny (physical quality), green (colour) yard. However, if by 'green', you meant 'grassy', 'leafy', or 'rich in vegetation', then that would be a physical quality, and you are free to arrange adjectives within the same group in any order, so you could exchange 'sunny' and 'green'.

Adjectives order

The Study of Adjective Order

1
  • 1
    Why is secret an opinion? It can be a quality (as is sunny). For example, you'd generally say the small secret door and not the secret small door. (For confirmation, there are lots more hits for small secret door than secret small door on Google.) Mar 29, 2019 at 12:53

You must log in to answer this question.

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