When we list pairs of words, certain orders seem much more common and natural than others.
A few examples:
- Fish and chips instead of chips and fish
- Ladies and gentlemen instead of gentlemen and ladies (likewise, men and women instead of women and men)
- I'm sure we've all (?) had those disagreements about whether it's Rob and Salma or Salma and Rob (or whatever)
In most of these cases though, I struggle to rationalise why one order sounds more 'right' than another.
Is it purely a historical accident that one order is more common than another? Or are there subtle linguistic rules that are responsible?