I was writing about the difference between morals and ethics when i wrote the following line

both these terms talk about the right and wrong conduct of people
both these terms talk about the wrong and right conduct of people

I would think both these sentence would convey the same meaning , as it is like saying You are fat and tall against You are tall and fat.

I just need a confirmation that these two sentences convey the same meaning. Am i missing anything?

  • 2
    The idiom is right or wrong. Wrong or right is simply odd, as if the speaker is trying to make a pun on the idiom; if you say or write this, people may search for a hidden meaning. That may or may not be your intention. – John Lawler Apr 7 '14 at 17:21

Grammatically, wrong and right is equivalent to right and wrong, but right and wrong is by far the more common construction, to the point where it is idiomatic, like sweet and sour or bow and arrow.

Wrong and right would be unusual, and if used at all, probably chosen for some literary effect or other meaning, as John Lawler notes in his comment. I might jokingly praise the writing and reading skills of bloggers— suggesting they start to write before they bother to read, and denying praise of their reading and writing skills. An old Simpsons line has the narrator of a video describing the do's and do-not-do's of foundation repair, instead of the do's and don'ts, for humorous effect.

Wiktionary has a list of "Siamese twins"— a more politically correct term would be binomial expression or irreversible binomial— which includes similar phrases which follow a conventional order, from good and evil to fish and chips.

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