2

I'm writing a description of my cat and I want to say that she's a rescue cat, a female, and that she has a tabby patern, all in one sentence that would look like this: Leia is a tabby female rescue cat. But I'm not sure if that's the correct order of the words. Thank you for your help.

closed as off-topic by AmE speaker, Drew, J. Taylor, JJJ, lbf Apr 23 '18 at 1:04

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • It's a matter of your own personal choice. I don't believe there is any "correct" way for stacking the adjectives describing your cat. However if I were doing it, I'd prioritize according to a method which (in my imagination) seems to personalize my pet as much as possible. So I'd probably say, "...female, tabby, rescue cat." Because in my mind, the qualities most intimately related to the cat's character are: 1) gender, 2) coat, and least of all the fact that she happens to be a 3) rescue pet. But that's my own personal opinion, and I'm sure there are many differing opinions to choose from. – Bread Apr 21 '18 at 13:15
  • First, I'd go with the 'adjective' label for 'tabby' here, rather than seeing 'tabby cat' as an open compound. Next, as 'rescue' is an attributive noun, it must come after the adjectives. Third, although one could look up 'colour' and 'gender' in the Royal order of Adjectives, I'd say that 'female' is the more significant attribute and thus put it closer to the noun. In spite of the attraction of tabby cat. Lastly, 'tabby' and 'female' are cumulative adjectives, so there should not be any commas. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 21 '18 at 13:34
  • You should, at least, consult something like What is the rule for adjective order? and then tell us what order you would pick based on the natural parameters of English. – AmE speaker Apr 21 '18 at 15:35
  • My instinct is to say 'female, tabby rescue cat'. There is an instinctive and natural order to adjectives as has been documented in various places. The mind 'approaches' the noun conceptually and 'sees' the most important aspects in descending order of importance. Sex, then colour, then origin seems natural to me. – Nigel J Apr 21 '18 at 16:10
1

My instinct is to say 'female, tabby rescue cat'. There is an instinctive and natural order to adjectives as has been documented in various places. The mind 'approaches' the noun conceptually and 'sees' the most important aspects in descending order of importance. Sex, then colour, then origin seems natural to me.

The highly up-voted answer to this highly up-voted question (What is the rule for adjeective order ?) is well worth a look.

As commented above by @Edwin Ashworth, 'rescue' might be considered a contributory compound noun (rather than an adjective) and would therefore deserve a place close to the principal noun 'cat'. But whichever way it is viewed, I think that is where it belongs.

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