Adjective Order – OSASCOMP

One student once told me about OSASCOMP. I had never heard of it before. In the US, we never learned this rule. We just learn by listening every second of every day. While I can tell you what the correct order should be for most three-or-four-adjective phrases, it is only from habit or just “sounding right”.

I have discussed this topic in a past post and saw this topic come up again recently, so I thought I would post this here so I don’t have to search for it again later.

Let’s look at OSASCOMP a moment and see how it applies and if I can help simplify it.

Normally, Americans don’t use more than about three adjectives:

  • She had long, straight, blonde hair. (Si, Sh, C)
  • He has short, curly, black hair. (Si, Sh, C)
  • He owned a sleek, red, sports car. (OCP)
  • She was an energetic, attractive, young thing. (OOA)
  • She was an attractive, energetic, young thing. (OOA)

In my mind, OSASCOMP is way too complicated. I might suggest OSCP as a simplification to cover the majority of cases where O = opinion, S => Size/Shape, C = color, P= purpose.

Mnemonic (memory aid) to remember OSCP?

  • OutSide Can’t Pee. (won’t work for Chinese people 😉 )
  • Our Side Can Participate.
  • OutSide ComPass
  • OutSide Can’t Post (must join the group first!)
  • Our Sister Couldn’t Play
  • Oh, Say Can you Play
  • OverSized Canvas Painting
  • (suggest your own mnemonic)

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