Here's a related question where this came up. I made an assumption in my answer that I want to bring to discussion.

I know the rule for adjective order:

Opinion Size Age Shape Colour Material Origin Purpose

Now, how and where exactly does weight fit in here? Does it belong to any of the mentioned categories or can we sort it between two of them?

As in:

This is a beautiful and heavy glass paperweight.

The app is fast and lightweight.

  • 4
    The and ruins everything, really. The rule is for several consecutive adjectives, not for lists of words. It does still apply to lists to a certain extent, but for different reasons and in a much less straightforward manner. Just think how you can't say "the red fast car", but you totally can say "the car is red and fast". "The Italian really old lady" doesn't work, but "the lady was Italian and really old" is fine. And, by definition, introduces equality. You're specifically saying, here are two modifiers that I'm treating on equal footing, and so I can list them in any order I please.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jan 3, 2020 at 11:41
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    'Now, how and where exactly does weight fit in here?' tacitly assumes that the 'Royal Order of Adjectives' is unbreakable. This thread at Wordwizard gives a more in-depth appraisal (or two). But you need a few more examples, without and's. Jan 3, 2020 at 12:16
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    @EdwinAshworth Yes. This order is interesting because it seems to be a ‘rule’ that has never be taught but which we somehow ‘follow’. The fascinating mystery is how this feeling of ‘correctness’ and ‘wrongness’ comes about. For example, the opinion first bit seems reasonable, as being more remote (extrinsic) to the referend. Shape and colour seem closest, at least to physical objects. But if there were such a ‘real’ pattern, it could be expected to surface in other languages. There may be some evidence. I think “un rouge bâton grand” sounds odd, compared to the reverse.
    – Tuffy
    Jan 3, 2020 at 12:35
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    I think you have Origin and Material the wrong way round. Michael Swan's Basic English Usage (1995), p.17, sect.9.1 says "colour, origin, material, purpose", e.g. "red Spanish leather riding-boots".
    – Rosie F
    Jan 3, 2020 at 12:39
  • @Tuffy: don't "un rouge bâton" and "un bâton grand" sound a little odd by themselves. Usually, color adjectives come after the noun and "grand" before. See Ngram. I think for a comparison of adjective order in French, you need to look at a sequence of adjectives after the noun. Jan 3, 2020 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


This website says that weight comes between size and age.

Looking at Google Ngrams, I would say that weight does indeed appear to be after size and before age, although the order of weight and age not as rigid as the first one.

  • I think putting weight next to size makes sense because (all else being equal) the two attributes are directly related, but where an object's weight is unusual for its size it still makes sense to put those details together.
    – nnnnnn
    Jan 3, 2020 at 13:44

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