Of Little Red Riding Hoods & Big Bad Wolves….

image-of-question-mark.jpg Have you ever wondered when you were a kid, why “Little Red Riding Hood” was never called “Riding Red Little Hood”? Why the “Big Bad Wolf” was never called “Bad Big Wolf”………………….??????



Well there’s a reason to this!  ……….Words like ‘little’, ‘red’, ‘riding’, ‘big’, ‘bad’ are all adjectives. Meaning, they are descriptive words that give you more information about what hood the girl was wearing & what type of wolf  was out to get her in the story……

Did you know that when you use multiple adjectives together, they really are not put together randomly but that they come in a particular order as prescribed by  grammatical rules in the English Language…..?

Let’s look at the different categories of adjectives:

  • cool, beautiful, ugly, etc = Opinion
  • large, small, tiny, hug, etc = Size
  • new, old, etc = Age
  • red, blue, green, etc = Colour
  • Italian, American, English, etc = Nationality
  • leather, synthetic, etc = Type

The rule of thumb is that an Opinion adjective comes first, followed by a Size adjective, Age adjective, Colour adjective, Nationality & then only the Type adjective. So to answer the earlier question about Little Red Riding Hood, that’s why its described in this particular order:

LITTLE (size), RED (colour),  RIDING (type) HOOD 


BIG (size), BAD (type) WOLF

Do be careful though, some words like ‘good’ & ‘bad’ can be opinion adjectives or type adjectives depending on context i.e. ‘Big Bad Wolf (Bad = here is Type hence it comes last) vs. Good Old Days (Good = Opinion, hence it comes first)

To help you remember the order, think of the first letters of the types of adjectives as a new massage chair brand like OSIM or OGAWA – it would be named OSACONT! So if you have a new bag, you would describe it as follows in perfect OSACONT order & not any other way 

I’ve got a cool, large, newred, Italian, leather bag




4 responses to “Of Little Red Riding Hoods & Big Bad Wolves….

  1. Wow! I never knew that there were such rules for a particular order for multiple adjectives.

    I would have made the mistake by saying that “I’ve got a new, large, cool, red, italian, leather bag”.

    No wonder, I sucked at languages.

  2. Wah.. you are the best english teacher I have ever had!!!

  3. Asme: Of course you don’t suck at languages!
    Gina: Paiseh, don’t say like that lah….. just sharing what I learn that’s all…..

  4. Hmmm…interesting. Never knew there was a rule. Always went by how comfortable it sounds. Would have made countless mistakes, no doubt!

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