I am aware of the standard order of adjectives preceding a noun. A group of us are having a discussion on how to properly label something when adjectives are labeling it outside of standard sentence, just as a title. We have something titled armour (red platebody) - the original label, and it is the title of a webpage. We need to keep the format except the internals of the parenthesis, either 'red, platebody' or 'platebody, red'. Red in this case is colour and it also signifies tiers as there are other colours that are better/worse.

My understanding and a few others is that it should be labelled, Armour (platebody, red) while others argue the standard order of (red, platebody) is correct instead. Wikipedia doesn't have a case for this outside keeping the original label as it is natural and concise, but if the original was not acceptable. Which is correct?

It is a fairly silly issue, but we're looking for outside views.

More broadly, do lists like this follow standard ordering or reverse ordering of adjectives?

  • The 'royal order of adjectives' applies only to running text. And even then there are competing views on what it actually comprises, and large agreement that there are exceptions to most versions. // Wouldn't you consider armour make-up (bronze?), quality/manufacturer (Hephaistos?) and type (platebody) to be more fundamental descriptors than colour or logos worn? I'd use that to decide which to mention first, so probably I would be using inversion to a degree. // Note also that 'platebody' is an attributive noun rather than an adjective. Feb 22 '20 at 14:45

There is a parallel with the labelling of goods in military stores. For example:'Coats, great, officers for the use of'. Such ordering allows lists to be compiled in alphabetical order that simultaneously help the user of the list find the item being looked for.

So, if a list were compiled using that approach, all coats would be listed together, which would not happen if the item in the list was 'officers' great coats'.

That suggests to me that there is no principle of grammar here at all, but rather the choice that makes most practical sense to users of the list. So if platebody armour comes in a variety of colours then 'armour, platebody, red' is likely to be a more useful description than 'armour, red, platebody'. But if platebody is just one subdivision of 'red armour' then by all means go for ' armour, red, platebody'.

With modern computerised databases the order in lists hardly matters, but if you are going to have a list to be scanned by humans then the word order should reflect users' likely needs.

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