Adjective order: short white cotton blouse

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How can i know the order of the adjectives that come before the noun?

For example if the noun contains more than two adjectives for example:

A - white - short - cotton - blouse

How can i arrange it?

Which comes first , then 2nd , then third , then the noun??

Can i put them in any order but make the noun the last one like:

A white short cotton blouse.
A white cotton short blouse.
A short white cotton blouse.
A short cotton white blouse.
A cotton white short blouse.
A cotton short white blouse.
  • BlackCitadel

    How do i know the order then, please?

    then is it OK if i put them in any order? but to make the noun in the last place??


    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    It looks like the adjectives are placed in reverse order of importance:

    It is first a blouse, then a cotton blouse, then a white cotton blouse, then a short white cotton blouse.

    Perhaps someone can find a rule...


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are many sources of information on "order of adjectives".
    Adjective order
    adjective order
    adjective order
    Adjective order after copula
    adjective order: soft, brown, little
    adjective order!!

    Here's one useful site about the normal order, from which I copy:

    1. Determiners
    2. Observation
    3. Size and Shape
    4. Age
    5. Color
    6. Origin
    7. Material
    8. Qualifier
    To my surprise, these rules almost always give a natural-sounding result.
    It's a short (III) white (V) cotton (VII) blouse.

    I have no idea why this order sounds right. It just does.
    I must add that no native speaker who has not been involved in explaining this order to non-native speakers has ever come across the "rule". It comes naturally to native speakers.


    Senior Member
    If you say "a short cotton white blouse", you seem to be saying the white blouse is made of short cotton as opposed to Egyptian cotton. If this is not what you mean, separate short from cotton.

    "Cotton white" might mean "as white as cotton" rather than "made of (white) cotton". If you mean that the cotton itself, as well as the blouse, is white, put white before cotton.

    If you mean to say a short blouse is something quite different from a "regular" blouse, the way we think of "short pants" (or just "shorts") as different from "regular" pants, then you can put short next to blouse.

    Otherwise there is only one choice remaining:

    A short white cotton blouse.



    Senior Member
    Then : A short white cotton blouse.
    means: The cotton blouse is made of a short white.

    doesn't it?
    I wouldn't think so, since it is a cotton blouse. But if you feel that short might modify white, you can separate them with a comma:

    a short, white cotton blouse

    What is a short white?

    The order "short white cotton blouse" allows each adjective to modify the entire phrase that follows, as SwissPete has pointed out.

    If you don't want to think about all this, the "useful site" Panj mentioned outlines an order that works most of the time.
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