Adjective order: does the age come after the shape ?

Vasco da Gama

Italiano - Italia
Hello everyone,

I'm studying the order of attributive adjectives. My English grammar book says that the age comes after the shape, so that the order is: Opinion- Size- Shape- Age- Colour- ….
But I came across the OSASHCOMP rule, which says that the order is this: Opinion - Size- Age, Shape- Colour- Origin, Material, Purpose (osashcomp - Google Search )

In this forum people suggest to take this diagram as a reference, which confirm what my English grammar book says. Any help?
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A small round old table (if we want to follow my English grammar book and the diagram above) :thumbsup:


    Senior Member
    English UK
    In the phrase without "small", I'm fairly sure I'd opt for an old round table. If I wanted to change the order, I'd make them coordinate adjectives and separate them with a comma: a round, old table.

    When I add the "small", then I'm uncomfortable with cumulative adjectives whichever way round I put them
    A small old round table:thumbsdown:
    A small round old table:thumbsdown:

    I'm happier with A small, round, old table or A small, old, round table.

    Two words of caution:
    (1) no description of adjective order is set in concrete; such descriptions describe tendencies
    (2) context, as always, can make a difference.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    We'd rarely put more than two adjectives before something: artificial examples generally sound strange anyway. In a description of a place, I'd say there was an old round table in one corner. Then I'm not particularly emphasizing either of them, so that's the natural order.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    All the examples in that table work well. But then, they would hardly have illustrated their point with examples that didn’t work. Note that “Physical Description” is the only section that’s divided into separate categories — size, shape, age, colour — which suggests that these are the elements that don’t always work in that order.

    For example, these read oddly (and I’ve no doubt much odder examples could be dreamed up): A long A-line vintage purple frock · A tiny spherical 50-year-old green toy.

    In short, all such advice should be taken as guidelines only.
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