I know English has a set 'general opinion, specific opinion, size, shape, age, colour, nationality, material' order for adjectives, but how is the ordering of multiple nationalities decided?

For example, 'British-American' sounds right, whilst 'American-British' sounds daft.

I can see why, for example, 'African-American' is the way it is because it refers to an American of African descent, rather than a joint African and American citizen, but is there a rule for the orderings of people who possess dual nationalities/projects delivered by companies from various countries/etc.?

Or how about more than two nationalities: why is Rome a 'British-American-Italian historical drama' rather than an American-Italian-British one?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drew, Hank, curiousdannii, Chenmunka, k1eran Feb 15 '17 at 0:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


A British American is phonetically easier to say than American British. Similarly for British American Italian. If you're referring to a person then a British American is an American of British descent whereas an American Briton would be a Brit of American descent.

  • 3
    What does “phonetically easier” mean? – tchrist Feb 7 '17 at 23:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.