English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In low volume, a melody sad love song is playing in a mobile phone placed on the side table.

Do you see the three adjectives (melody sad love) together? Is that correct?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by MετάEd, Kristina Lopez, MrHen, Hellion, tchrist May 1 '13 at 2:27

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Question assumes facts not in evidence ... – MετάEd Apr 28 '13 at 4:49
:) @MετάEd There are no "facts" assumed, only a supposition. – Kris Apr 28 '13 at 4:56
Someone thought this Q was "too localized" (?!) and wanted it closed. – Kris Apr 28 '13 at 11:34

I see only one adjective.

  • Melody is a noun. The adjective form would be melodious (or possibly melodic).
  • Sad is indeed an adjective describing love song.
  • Love is not an adjective. It is a noun adjunct — a noun which serves the function of an adjective in the noun phrase, love song.

The use of melody as a noun makes this sentence ungrammatical. This would be correct:

In low volume, a melodious, sad love song is playing in a mobile phone placed on the side table.

Although there are still only two pure adjectives, not three.

share|improve this answer
On correction, there would be, functionally, three adjectives. – Kris Apr 28 '13 at 4:27
@Kris Yes, I see. Thanks for clarifying. – p.s.w.g Apr 28 '13 at 4:36
@Kris: There is a confusion of terminology in the literature here. Those who say 'the noun adjunct, though functioning adjectivally, does not actually become an adjective (by conversion) but remains a noun' would probably not accept 'there would be, functionally, three adjectives' here. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 28 '13 at 7:37
I think the adjectival form you want is not melodic but melodious. – StoneyB Apr 28 '13 at 11:05
But there seems to be a rule that noun-adjuncts must be closer to the head noun than any true adjectives. Traditional farmer is fine (adjective) pig farmer is fine (noun adjunct), traditional pig farmer is fine, but *pig traditional farmer is ungrammatical. Furthermore, the possible meanings of noun adjuncts are narrower than adjectives: usually either the kind of object that the head noun uses/refers to/consists of, or which subclass of thing the head noun is. So I can imagine you might classify songs as word songs or melody songs. That's the only meaning I can think of for it. – Colin Fine Apr 28 '13 at 11:38

If the essence of the question is whether it is grammatical to chain three adjectives in a row, then the answer is: Yes.

There's nothing ungrammatical or illegal about using any number of adjectives consecutively. However, good writing style recommends that the number of adjectives be limited to three and to avoid using more than two where possible.

share|improve this answer
There may be previous questions dealing with the topic, do check out. You may also like to see some standard style guides for useful recommendations. – Kris Apr 28 '13 at 4:32
+1 Good style recommendation. I'm suddenly reminded of the "great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River". – p.s.w.g Apr 28 '13 at 4:45
+999 commenter for invoking Kipling. – MετάEd Apr 28 '13 at 4:48
The Kipling construction works superbly. The OP's construction seems rather contrived, and a little confusing as melody is usually a noun rather than a noun modifier (or, to use p.s.w.g.'s term, noun adjunct). Style usually requires that ordinary adjectives are placed before any noun modifiers. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 28 '13 at 7:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.