This website is common in both north and south America.

Or is this better?

This website is common in both south and north America.

Let's ask Google:

Why there is a huge difference?

There are too many other examples, such as white and black, high and low, etc.

In an academic/professional writing context, if there is no logical reason for any order, should one just preserve the common order? Does using the uncommon order look strange?

  • Pretty sure this is a dupe, but it would be hard to find the original. Look for "binomials" and "fixed" and "order".
    – Dan Bron
    May 8, 2016 at 14:39
  • Time to look at Cooper and Ross again. May 8, 2016 at 14:57
  • A rather daunting read @JohnLawler! Do they suggest that there is a 'pecking order' for which parameter is dominant? And do they find that different languages behave similarly? I have always been intrigued by the fact that English says 'black and white' whereas Spanish says 'blanco y negro'.
    – Dan
    May 8, 2016 at 21:24
  • 1
    @Dan - I think you answered your own question. Note that the percussive "black" and "blanco" come first. I think you can find a similar pattern with most of the others. Certain orders "roll off the tongue" more readily than others.
    – Hot Licks
    May 8, 2016 at 21:46


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