On the adjective order that every English speaker knows but none of us can articulate (Hyperbaton)

πŸ’Ž On the adjective order that every English speaker knows but none of us can articulate (Hyperbaton)

The reason for Tolkien’s mistake, since you ask, is that adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And as size comes before colour, green great dragons can’t exist.

Excerpt from: The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth

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