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Do you write or say other adjectives before or after the adjective free of charge used together with a noun? Is it better to put other adjectives before or after free of charge? Do you put an indefinite article before free of charge? How often is free of charge used with an indefinite article?

The free of charge financial aid should be explicitly specified in the source documents supporting a certain type of income received by a company.

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    When you use a multi-word term as a compound adjective before the noun like that, most people would expect you to at least hyphenate it: "The free-of-charge financial aid should be explicitly specified". In your exact context it's unlikely anyone would normally reverse the positions of free-of-charge and financial, but it's possible to contrive a context where this would be a reasonable choice in order to place extra emphasis on financial. – FumbleFingers Dec 22 '14 at 17:06
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The most idiomatic usage of 'free of charge' is at the end of a sentence. "I'll allow you to stay free of charge." "The cigars are free of charge." The phrase is rather clumsy outside of advertisements.

In place of 'free of charge,' there are single word alternatives with equivalent meanings. Complimentary and gratis work well. The word 'free' is also generally an acceptable alternative, although somewhat ambiguous. 'No-cost' also works well (suggested by Jim Reynolds in a comment to this answer).

As for your questions:

Do you write or say other adjectives before or after the adjective free of charge used together with a noun? If forced to use free of charge in combination with other adjectives, I would place free of charge last. Severely cumbersome adjectives such as this should be handled as such (or, more preferably, alone).

Is it better to put other adjectives before or after free of charge? Same as above.

Do you put an indefinite article before free of charge? Yes, see below.

How often is free of charge used with an indefinite article? Surprisingly (to me, at least), "a free of charge" is a more common phrase than "the free of charge." Thus, the indefinite article is more common than the definite article before 'free of charge.'

  • Ok. What if I change 'the free of charge financial aid' into 'the financial aid received free of charge should...'? Usage of the adverb intead of the adjective? Is this usage more common, compared to initial one? – user93573 Dec 22 '14 at 17:13
  • +1 for the answer. I propose no-cost as an additional alternative, and invite Coty to add it to this fine answer. No-cost financial aid would be my choice among all the options put forth so far. – Jim Reynolds Dec 22 '14 at 18:53
  • @Humbuliani "...[T]he financial aid received free of charge..." would not be common, and would sound awkward to most native speakers. – Jim Reynolds Dec 22 '14 at 18:58
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It should be better written as a/the free-of-charge financial aid.

It does not matter if it is a definite, indefinite or free of any article preceding the phrase.

Usually, it is a good practice to hyphenate a phrase, when the phrase itself becomes an adjectival/adverbial phrase.

Examples of adjectival phrases

  • free-of-charge: Do you think you can simply come into this house and eat free-of-charge? The free-of-charge meal applies only to children younger than eight, duh. If I cater to everyone who comes into my restaurant expecting a free-of-charge meal, I would be bankrupt closing shop tomorrow.

  • no-money-down: The government of Lahore is offering an introductory no-money-down loan for people willing to buy houses in rebuilt towns devastated by the Taliban. According to govt officials, a no-money-down loan is one which you take possession of a house without placing any down-payment. The no-money-down scheme is not very popular at the moment.

  • use-it-or-lose-it: I have two use-it-or-lose-it holidays which I have to use before New Year's day. A use-it-or-lose-it holiday is for compensating non-Christians in America, who do not celebrate the Christian holidays in the American holiday conspiracy.

  • interest-free: She is applying for the interest-free loan offered to small business women entrepreneurs. Getting an interest-free loan is very helpful when starting up a small business.

BTW, what is free-of-charge financial aid? Did you mean interest-free? Or, did you mean free from being charged with admin and loan-agent's fees? No-money-down loan?

  • I mean funds or cash transferred to another entity without expectations that this entity will pay money back. The parent company transfers funds to its subsidiary. This transfer is deemed to be the financial assistance or the financial aid. – user93573 Dec 22 '14 at 17:28
  • Maybe I'd best use just 'free financial aid'. – user93573 Dec 22 '14 at 17:32
  • Non-repayable financial aid? A grant? Google for "non-repayable financial aid". – Blessed Geek Dec 22 '14 at 17:38
  • I like this option "non-repayable financial assistance". Thanks. I think that's what I need. +1 – user93573 Dec 22 '14 at 19:06

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