Adjective Order Goes Viral


If you're down with a lot of wordy types on the web, there's a good chance that in the last few days you've seen an excerpt from a book called "The Elements of Eloquence" by Mark Forsyth. It says, "Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac.”

There's one word in this passage that makes the whole thing dead wrong. That word is "absolutely." The proof is in this assessment of Forsyth's assertion: That's one big, beautiful overstatement.

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