We know that "The bag is black." is a correct sentence. But, a lot of people write "the bag is black colour". Is this sentence grammatically wrong or acceptable?

  • 3
    Well, if you want to use both "black" and "color", you'd have to say "the bag is black in color", or "the bag is a black color" (which suggests it isn't perfectly black, but a kind of black; this construction works better for less absolute colors, like pink or orange), or "the bag's color is black". But even with these adjustments which make the sentence grammatically correct, stylistically it's still very clunky, and logically irkingly redundant.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 14, 2014 at 11:00
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    What proof do you offer that “a lot of people” write that wrong version? I’ve never seen it.
    – tchrist
    Oct 14, 2014 at 12:53
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    @tchrist Judging by the user name, I would guess Ming is Chinese. While I’ve never actually heard anyone use black colour as an adjective either, even by Chinese people, it would be a very understandable error to make for a Chinese person, since all colour terms (noun or adjective) frequently take 色 sè ‘colour’ (by itself only a noun) at the end. So 包是黑(色)的 bāo shì hēi(sè) de ‘the bag is black’ is equally correct and common with and without the extra word ‘colour’. To someone whose English is limited, a direct translation is easily imaginable and I’m sure quite common. Oct 14, 2014 at 14:00
  • 1
    This is very common among non-native speakers because it is the natural way to express in their native tongue. It's incorrect in standard English, both grammatically as well as technically.
    – Kris
    Oct 14, 2014 at 15:03

4 Answers 4


Grammatically wrong.

Your first (valid) example of "The bag is black" uses 'black' as an adjective.

It would also be valid to say "The bag is black coloured"; here the word 'black' is used as a noun modifier for the adjective 'coloured'.

Also idiomatic would be "The bag is black in colour" ('black' as adjective, 'colour' as noun).

"The bag is [or has] a black colour" is also fine, as 'black colour' acts as a compound noun being used to express a quality, property or relationship of the bag (similar to "The tube is a cylinder", "The car has a door", "The man has a child").

But in "The bag is black colour" you're saying the noun and the compound noun are equal, which they are not.


*The bag is black colour

This sentence is ungrammatical. The reason is that colour is a singular countable noun. Singular, countable nouns in English must have a determiner:

  • *I have pen
  • I have a pen/ the pen /my pen/ this pen/ one pen/ John 's pen / which pen/ any pen

So you can say:

  • The bag is a black colour

or you could use the adjective coloured

  • It's black coloured.

However, neither of these is very good style, because everybody knows that black is a colour!

  • 2
    Black is the colour of my true love’s hair...
    – tchrist
    Oct 14, 2014 at 14:20
  • @John, 1) thanks for the edit. 2) How'd you make the asterisk come out as an asterisk instead of a bullet point, which is what always happens to me? Oct 14, 2014 at 15:10
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    @Araucaria: 1) You're welcome. 2) Put the asterisk directly before the first letter of the sentence, no space. That's the linguistic convention; it apparently also defeats the formatting favor that the software would otherwise do for your convenience. It's much harder to arrange when you're using italics for examples, which is also the linguistic convention. Oct 14, 2014 at 15:13

'The bag is black colour' is not grammatically acceptable I'm afraid and I would suggest;

'The bag is black in colour'

However, stating

'The bag is black'

is also fine, because black infers it is the colour of the bag that you are describing

  • @Chenmunka: it's quite an explicit statement, so little is implied. If I would say the bag is coated in sooth, it implies that it is black.
    – oerkelens
    Oct 14, 2014 at 12:43

The usage is not right. More appropriate usage would be something like

The bag is of the color, black.

or instead just use,

The bag is black in color.

  • 5
    The comma in your first example is superfluous. It would not be normally be present.
    – Chenmunka
    Oct 14, 2014 at 12:17

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