Adjective order: a lovely, long, cool, refreshing drink ... a refreshing, lovely, long, cool drink

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Senior Member
a tall dark handsome boy
a lovely, long, cool, refreshing drink

Any wrong in the adjective orders in these two sentences?

I have learned that adjective about judgement and attitudes usually come first:
a silly fat man
So isn't refreshing a adjective like that?
a refreshing, lovely, long, cool drink
a handsome tall dark boy
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There are lots of style hints about the order of adjectives. I think I'd stick to your opening order, in both cases. Tall, dark and handsome is a conventional collection of adjectives, so it would be odd to change that. I suspect that there's something about putting short adjectives before polysyllables. I take the point about putting subjective adjectives first, but that's only one of several hints which may conflict, I suspect. It's quite an elaborate collection of considerations concerned with both meaning and with the flow of the sentence.


    Senior Member
    If you use forum search, you will find quite a collection of threads on the topic of adjective order —or 'order of adjectives' perhaps— that cite various good sources for suggested lists of the most common sequences. Those threads also make the point that you may intentionally abandon the suggestions for reasons of stylistic emphasis.

    It's probably a matter of opinion, but you might find that unconventional order adds strength to an adjective.

    He wore an ugly purple dress. That follows convention, putting opinion first. Now reverse the adjectives: He wore a purple ugly dress. The unaccustomed order may shift the emphasis, or add force to one of the adjectives.
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