Tengo un perro negro grande.

I’m curious about the adjective order here. In English, you can say a “big black dog”, but it would be unusual to say a “black big dog” (if you did, the unusual word order would communicate that you were already discussing “big dogs” and you were emphasizing “my particular big dog is black”.)

How does this work in Spanish? Why does “negro” come first here?


You can say both, grande negro and negro grande.


My question though is, is there a “default order” and is there a change in the connotation?

Like in English, saying a “black big dog” strongly connotes a grouping like “black (big dog)” whereas saying “big black dog” is more like saying “big, black dog”. I’m curious if this phenomenon also plays out in Spanish too or not.

And what about if there are more adjectives?

For example, in English, you would say “big old black dog”, i.e. age comes before color, but after size. However, purpose comes later, like “a big old black guard dog”.

Any change in this order would be jarring, and thus would communicate additional information. Some orders also would just come out as gibberish, like if you said “A guard old black big dog” it would be like “huh”? It wouldn’t even be clear what you meant.

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when there are 3 or more adjectives in Spanish I guess the best way is saying: un perro grande, viejo y negro. It doesn’t matter the order. and with two… if you say for example “un perro grande negro”, you want to emphasize that the dog is big more than it’s black.
“Un gato negro pequeñito”, here you want to emphasize that the cat is black.