order of adjectives (old physics teacher)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by eli7, May 6, 2014.

  1. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian; Farsi
    Greetings,

    In the subject of "order of adjectives" there is a rule. In such cases the usual pattern is as follows:
    determiner+quality+size+color+nationality+material+noun. For example: "He bought a large white cotton shirt."

    But in the example: "The old physics teacher was very excited."
    I do not understand why old precedes "physics" and which category "physics" belongs to? Is it a quality adjective?

    Regards
     
  2. Ma_linka Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Physics techer is permanent, old can vary (he could be a young teacher, old describes the techer), that is why old precedes physics.
     
  3. Ma_linka Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    OPINION APPEARANCE AGE COLOR ORIGIN MATERIAL
    good bad beautiful ugly smart dumb usually follows this order: size/measure big small high low shape round circular square condition broken cracked ripped fresh rotten new antique old young two-year-old* red purple pink dark green navy blue Korean Chinese French Italian American iron brass cotton gold wooden vegetable
     
  4. Ma_linka Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    General opinion Specific opinion Size Shape Age Colour Nationality Material
     
  5. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian; Farsi
    Thank you :)
    In this table, to which category "physics" belong?
     
  6. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    "Physics" does not belong in any of these categories because it is a noun, not an adjective.

    In English we often stick two nouns together. We sometimes call the first a "noun modifier"; Wikipedia calls it a "noun adjunct". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_adjunct

    The combination "noun adjunct + noun" forms a new long noun for every purpose except spelling: for example, "physics teacher" is pronounced as a four-syllable noun, with the main stress on the first syllable only.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  7. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian; Farsi
    Thanks se16teddy.
    So can I conclude that "if there is a noun which plays the role of an adjective and some other adjectives, that is the noun modifier which sticks to the noun and comes as the last adjective?
     
  8. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Yes, I can't immediately think of any exceptions!

    I suppose there must be some cases where it is tricky to determine whether an element is a noun or an adjective, but physics is not one of these!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  9. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian; Farsi
    I'm very grateful :)
     
  10. Ma_linka Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I think so. This is what I tried to call "permanent", but I think se16teddy has already explained.
    A noun functions as an adjective when it procedes a noun that it modifies, for example, English teacher. Nouns as adjectives are always placed before the second noun in a sentence which they describe.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  11. Ma_linka Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I am sure you know this, but I just thought these examples were useful:
    opinion size age shape colour origin material
    lovely big old triangular white Italian wooden

    An opinion adjective would occur before a shape or colour adjective, and a shape or colour adjective would occur before a material adjective, e.g.:

    a beautiful green silk dress

    I also found a rule stating: Noun modifiers come after adjectives: The old newspaper seller. A tiring fifty-kilometre journey.
    So this explains it all, I think.:)
     
  12. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian; Farsi
    Thank you Ma_linka :) The examples helped :)
     

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