According to the English grammar, the adjectives between article and noun should be in order:

  1. opinion
  2. size
  3. shape
  4. condition
  5. age
  6. color
  7. pattern
  8. origin
  9. material
  10. purpose

In order to remember this, I build an English mnemonic rhyme by myself:

a lovely small thin sex-hungry 21-year-old girl'red striped Japanese silk sleeping underwear.

Don't laugh at me, I just want to memorize it well. Is it okay?
If possible, would you give me a good example which includes all the adjectives and is more easily to remember?

  • I have never heard of this alleged rule of English grammar. It might be correct... but it is not consciously taught in American schools.
    – Jasper
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 3:24
  • In recent generations, English authors have tried to avoid the "purple prose" that his alleged rule covers. I looked at samples from a few books to verify this alleged rule. Two of them (J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King -- originally published in 1955 -- and Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries -- from 1979) did not seem to have pairs of adjectives. Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity -- from 2002 -- had a few examples. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie -- from 1935, describing the early 1870s -- had many examples....
    – Jasper
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 4:16
  • ... My impression was that between 50% and 80% of the examples were consistent with this alleged rule. So this alleged rule might help you in writing things, but do not rely on it to interpret things. Little House on the Prairie is widely read to American children. It is written in a very simple style, using ordinary words. It epitomizes "plain English" and "English that sounds natural to an American ear".
    – Jasper
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 4:24
  • Funny enough, this has just been a topic a few days ago in cambridge's dictionaryblog: A nice, relaxing bath (Adjective order). Maybe that article may help you, too.
    – Em1
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 10:59
  • Even if this rule is sort of true, I recommend that you not memorize it. Memorized rules help you get started. You should pick up the language mainly through experience listening, talking, reading, and writing. Then you'll know the language rather than a list of memorized rules. Also, this is not a rule of English grammar like "the verb must agree in number with its subject". It's just a pattern that adjectives often follow but sometimes don't.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


Your mnemonic seems good for its purpose.

You should know that the rule in question does have exceptions, and this is actually a shockingly complicated and controversial subject:


As Jasper noted, most native English speakers are not taught this rule but instead absorb what sounds natural through osmosis. While the rule might be helpful for writing, I don't think you'll ever be able to apply it at conversation speed, and you should probably supplement it with repetitive practice of common multi-adjective phrases.

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