Adjective Ordering

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

Languages have a certain order in which you can attach adjectives to the noun they are describing. For example, in English, it sounds odd to a native speaker to talk about a *black beautiful big dog, whereas a beautiful big black dog is perfectly acceptable. In the same way, adjectives in Gaelic are attached in a certain order, as follows:

[Noun] [Size] [Quality] [Colour]

So our canine friend would be described as:

cù mór brèagha dubh

You can either remember the order that way or think of it that way: size goes closest to the noun, colour furthest away. Doesn't matter which way you remember it as long as you remember it.

Here are more examples:

caileag mhór laghach ruadh
girl big nice red-haired
a nice tall red haired girl
càr beag saor uaine
car small cheap green
a cheap small green car

These aren't ironclad rules, in case someone was going to email in with nighean donn bhòidheach. They're more like strong guidelines although I suspect that our nighean donn bhòidheach may be muddled due to the fact that the composer of this song wanted it to rhyme with the next few lines!



Beagan gràmair
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