Have you seen a phrase contained many epithet in English? Epithets consist of adjectives. For example: The clever tall young Australian actor. Bold font above are the epithet.

We already know the formula in english: DOECH

  • D = Determiner (article)
  • O = Ordinative (numeral)
  • E = Ephitet (adjectives)
  • C = Classsifiying (Noun as adjectiives)
  • H = Head Word

Epithet divided by: DI SI A T SHA CO

  • DI = Descriptive Enumerator
  • SI = Size
  • A = Age
  • T = Temperature
  • SHA = Shape
  • CO = Color

This order is "fixed". Now, my question is: Is that the same with German to form such extended noun Phrase?

I need this answer for my exam. Any answers will be appreciated. I hope my question is understandable and not complicated.

  • What function do the quotation marks around "fixed" serve? Is the order fixed or is it not? Feb 26, 2017 at 15:55
  • Are you sure that the order of adjectives is fixed in English?
    – Jan
    Feb 27, 2017 at 2:45
  • yes I am sure that the order is fixed . It is sentenced , the Word order DOECH and DI SI A T SHA CO can't be arranged randomly . Mar 4, 2017 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


The noun phrase in German is pretty similar to that in English.

Der (zweite) clevere, große, junge australische Schauspieler.

Note the difference: australische isn't a noun as an adjective but a proper adjective. Second, German compound words tend to fill the gap between proper adjectives and English nouns as adjectives.

Der dritte große rote Feuerwehrwagen.

The order inside the adjective block is more flexible than in English, the only thing which is required is the size in front. Some orders are more usual than others and in speech, people are often sloppy about this.

  • Can you add commas between the adjectives please.
    – Thomas
    Feb 26, 2017 at 11:06
  • This again is a rule I think no one ever gets right. In the second example, any comma looks wrong to me as I don't do any hiatus between the words.
    – Janka
    Feb 26, 2017 at 13:08
  • 1
    This might be helpful: duden.de/sprachwissen/sprachratgeber/komma-zwischen-adjektiven
    – Thomas
    Feb 26, 2017 at 13:17
  • The problem about this rule is: about when is an adjective Phrase a Gesamtbegriff? The only rule you can apply here in reality is whether you make a hiatus or not.
    – Janka
    Feb 26, 2017 at 13:23
  • 2
    Wenn da zehn Feuerwehrautos sind, von denen fünf rot sind und zwischen denen jeweils kleine stehen, dann spielt die Platzierung des "dritten" schon eine Rolle. Der "dritte große, rote" könnte dann auch der fünfte oder sechste Feuerwehrwagen sein. Der "große, rote, dritte Feuerwehrwagen" wäre aber jedenfalls der dritte, aber außerdem wohl ein großer, nämlich der zweite große. Feb 26, 2017 at 16:03

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