I know that you're meant to order adjectives based on their type (quantity, opinion, size... etc.), but what type do 'fat' and 'thin' fall into? Are they size or shape? I feel as though I can just as well say "a fat old woman" as "an old fat woman".

A related question: when researching the topic, I found this confusing blog (https://www.grammarly.com/blog/adjective-order/), in which the author says:

'If you’re stuck on whether to use a comma or not, here’s an easy trick: if you can add the word “and” between the adjectives and reverse the adjectives’ order without losing the sentence’s clarity, you don’t need a comma.'

This suggests you don't use commas between coordinate adjectives, contradicting what most other online sources and many style guides say. The writer immediately contradicts themselves in the next section by writing, 'It was a loud, crowded concert.' Am I missing something, or is the blog incorrect?

  • Like thumbs, rules of thumbs often get broken. I'd say that "It was a crowded and loud concert" sounds stilted.
    – jimm101
    Aug 26, 2022 at 18:44
  • Minor point: "don't need a comma" and "don't use commas" do not mean the same thing. I may not need an umbrella most days, but umbrellas can be useful when it is sunny nonetheless.
    – Yorik
    Sep 1, 2022 at 20:15
  • @jimm101 : So would I, and I am not sure why you have changed the order of the adjectives in JJ_Doogal's question. However "It was a loud and crowded concert" would trip off my tongue quite naturally, more so than the version with a comma. Sep 4, 2022 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


You can just as easily say "a fat old…" as "an old fat woman" but that's precisely because it's not clear enough to matter whether 'fat/thin' falls under size or shape.

Personally, I see "fat" as size, where shape might be "round" but I won't insist anyone follows suit.

Test that by filling in the other categories: opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose with whatever you like - 'tall/short' or 'black/white' or 'Azerbaijani/Zimbawean' or 'Earthly/alien'.

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