I was reading a book, and a character calls another character "a gangly, little human". Now, if I were to use another adjective instead of little, say, tiny, I would have to say "a tiny, gangly human," and not "a gangly tiny human," as for some reason it just doesn't sound right. I would like to know why that is, and is there a reason for it?"

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    I think 'little' is normally placed next to the noun because in some contexts it's almost like a noun phrase (especially 'little girl' and 'little boy'). 'Tiny', however, is more unusual and emphasises the fact that they are exceptionally small, so it is placed first. Commented Apr 5 at 7:48
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    Gangly, tiny, and thin are all arguably the same category (physical quality) so other considerations come into play such as number of syllables and how nice it sounds, as well as importance (which may lead you vary order). There are lots of other questions on adjective order; you should have a look at them.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 5 at 8:47
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    The classic counterexample to '[determiner] – opinion/qualifiersize – age – shape – colour – origin – material – purpose – [attributive noun] is << [the] big, bad wolf >>. As for << [the] bad, big wolf >> – it just doesn't sound right. Commented Apr 5 at 10:37
  • Strongly related and potential duplicates: 0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 5 at 13:20
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    Am I the only one to think that although 'a gangly little human' would not, 'a little, gangly human' would need that comma? For me, switching 'little' to 'tiny' makes no difference but two things: To me it's not clear either whether that applies only to two-word lists, or only to lists using other than the 'accepted' order, or what combination. Commented Apr 17 at 20:11


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