QOSASCOMP = Quantity, Opinion, Size, Age, Shape, Colour, Origin, Material, Purpose.
Mnemonic 1: On Saturday And Sunday Cold Ovens Make Pastry.
Mnemonic 2: Quite Often Simply Asking Someone Can Obliterate Many Problems (source)
QOSASCOMP is listed here for completeness. For the moment I prefer OSASCOMP.
See, for instance: Translating technical journalism: OSASCOMP revisited (11/09/14), Order, qualifiers (same type,comma separated) (14/10/14), OSASCOMP revisited (11/09/14)
1. The adjectives used in the table below are examples only.
2. Some adjectives can be found in different positions, but if you follow the OSASCOMP rule you won’t be wrong!
Take care when applying the rule to categorise the adjectives correctly. For example, "The old rotund man read a short old story about an ugly big bear" seems to follow the rules, yet sounds wrong. In this case, 'old' and 'short' are qualifiers, not merely size or age designations, because 'old man' is a social concept on its own, and 'short story' is a genre. And 'big ugly' is a 'commonplace term'.
Collins Cobuild (link)
"When more than one adjective is used in front of a noun, the usual order is:
quantitative adj. – colour adj. – classifying adj.
rapid technological change."
"However, non-gradable adjectives indicating shape, such as 'circular' and 'rectangular', often come in front of the colour adjectives, even though they are classifying adjectives."
Practical English Usage (Wiki link)
"Before nouns, we generally use commas between adjectives (especially in long sequences) which give similar kinds of information, for example in physical descriptions.
a lovely, long, cool, refreshing drink
an expensive, ill-planned, wasteful project."
- On 13 January 2015, The Age carried an article entitled A castle for the price of an apartment that included the words "an English medieval castle". OSASCOMP suggests that this should have read "a medieval English castle", which certainly sounds better to me.
- Is there a difference between "top-quality canned sardines" and "canned top-quality sardines"? It seems to me that the former implies that both the sardines and the canning process are 'top quality' whereas the latter means that only the sardines are 'top quality'. If this analysis is correct, what conclusions can we draw?
- This page of the Lindt website promotes "Swiss premium chocolate". IMHO and according to the above analysis that should read "premium Swiss chocolate".