order adjectives [long curly black hair]

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Karmele3

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Hello!
Can anyone help?

long curly black hair? or long black curly hair?

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Thanks
 
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  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hello!
    Can anyone help?

    long curly black hair? or long black curly hair? Either one will work - you're just listing the attributes of the hair. Does it matter if one says "the green, yellow, red and blue ball" or "the yellow, blue, red and green ball"?

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    Thanks
     
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    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Depends. The adjective closest to the noun should be the most important, the most inherent. Usually with hair that would be color, so 'long curly black hair' or 'curly long black hair.'

    Of course if the question is "What kind of curly hair did you find?" Then "A long black curly hair" is an entirely legitimate answer.

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    Karmele3

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    hi there!
    Thanks for your answers. Regarding size, colour & other attributes when descriging things and people I´m sure there is a rule about position, but I can´t find it.
    Thanks
     
    Hello!
    Can anyone help?

    long curly black hair? or long black curly hair?


    << Second question removed. >>

    Thanks

    Both are OK and I would not read any difference in meaning between them.

    I would generally use: "long curly black hair" and I think this is the most frequent word order.

    I think for reasons of style someone might use: long black curly hair, perhaps to give added emphasis to the "curly" or perhaps to use a different word order to make the reader think more carefully about the separate words rather than the set phrase as a whole.

    Robbo
     
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    Karmele3

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Can we say..?
    She has got dark and curly hair? or She has got dark curly hair?

    I´m not a hairdresser!
     
    Dimcl said:

    Either one will work - you're just listing the attributes of the hair. Does it matter if one says "the green, yellow, red and blue ball" or "the yellow, blue, red and green ball"?

    Hey, c'mon! The order of adjectives is often very important!

    Size, for example, invariably comes before colour; compare:

    The big white house. :tick:
    The white big house.

    The fast red car. :tick:
    The red fast car.

    The beautiful young woman. :tick:
    The young beautiful woman.

    The dirty old man. :tick: [ :warn: for other reasons! ]
    The old dirty man. :warn:

    Robbo
     

    Karmele3

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    hi there!
    Thanks Robbo!
    Adjectival postion is very imporant. Regarding size, colour & other attributes when describing things and people I´m sure there is a rule about position, but I can´t find it.
    Thanks
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Hello!
    Can anyone help?

    long curly black hair? or long black curly hair?


    << Second question removed. >>

    Thanks
    As regards the adjective order, I agree with most of which has already been said.

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    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Dimcl said:

    Either one will work - you're just listing the attributes of the hair. Does it matter if one says "the green, yellow, red and blue ball" or "the yellow, blue, red and green ball"?

    Hey, c'mon! The order of adjectives is often very important!

    Size, for example, invariably comes before colour; compare:

    The big white house. :tick:
    The white big house.

    The fast red car. :tick:
    The red fast car.

    The beautiful young woman. :tick:
    The young beautiful woman.

    The dirty old man. :tick: [ :warn: for other reasons! ]
    The old dirty man. :warn:

    Robbo
    Valid points except that your examples are normally used in this manner because they're simply ingrained by habit - what would be wrong with saying "the young beautiful woman" or "the red fast car"? Phrasing those sentences the way you have is habitual, not necessarily right. In the case of our sample sentence, what is the difference between "black and curly" or "curly and black"?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I discovered, shortly after arriving here, that non-natives are provided with guidelines for the order of adjectives.

    Here are some previous threads on this topic.

    Order of the adjectives

    Order of adjectives rule

    Here is one of the ordered lists:
    age, shape, size, temperature pluscolour plus origin plus material plus purpose.

    It's not a great help in this case.

    Based on thinking only:
    Long definitely comes first.


    As for the next day question?
    Please do not ask two completely different questions in the same thread.
     

    Trina

    Senior Member
    Australia (English)
    Thank you Panj for these threads.

    This quote below (from Panj) was from the second of these links and remains unanswered.

    I am totally amazed to find that "rules" have been created for order of adjectives!! This comes so built-in to the native speaker that the need for rules has simply never arisen in my brain. And as a regular appraiser and corrector of work by others, I have never come across this as a problem.
    Is it something that is specific to English or do other languages have their own sets of rules?
    I would like to know if there are any native English-speaking people who were actually taught this rule at school or is this taught only to people learning English as a second language?

    I have never heard of this rule either and although it makes sense, I agree with Dimcl's post:
    Valid points except that your examples are normally used in this manner because they're simply ingrained by habit - what would be wrong with saying "the young beautiful woman" or "the red fast car"? Phrasing those sentences the way you have is habitual, not necessarily right.
    Isn't the word order, to some extent, governed by where one wants the emphasis to be placed?
    (I know that this is the case in Italian)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Nope - I was never taught a rule of this sort.

    While I agree with Dimcl that alternative word orders are theoretically acceptable, there's something to be said about the frequency with which native speakers naturally use different structures.

    I think it's misleading just to say that both are ok; there are tendencies and those tendencies are at least as important as rules when it comes to mastering a language.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Nope - I was never taught a rule of this sort.

    While I agree with Dimcl that alternative word orders are theoretically acceptable, there's something to be said about the frequency with which native speakers naturally use different structures.

    I think it's misleading just to say that both are ok; there are tendencies and those tendencies are at least as important as rules when it comes to mastering a language.
    Ah, caught me playing Devil's Advocate, Elroy!:) I was focusing, however, on the original example sentence and since "long" was the first adjective used, I disregarded it as a topic of discussion. I'm still not sure, though, why either of "black curly" or "curly black" would matter in this context. I'm still so uncertain that I'm not sure which one I'd place ahead of the other if I were writing that sentence.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Long curly black hair" is what I'd say/write in a normal context, without extra emphasis or anything.

    It may not necessarily be logical, but it is what it is. :)
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Isn't the word order, to some extent, governed by where one wants the emphasis to be placed?
    (I know that this is the case in Italian)
    Absolutely! I feel that all of the above examples (given by Robbo) are correct, but they have very different meanings.


    "The man pointed to the fast red car." implies that all/several of these cars are red, but only this one is fast
    (eg: on the highway... this car is different because it is speeding)

    "The man pointed to the red fast car." implies that all/several of these cars are fast, but only this one is red
    (eg: at a racetrack... this car is different because it is colorful)


    In other words, the specific (more important?) adjective seems to come first. I use both forms, depending on which of these meanings I want to convey.
     
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