I didn’t have the heart to post a picture of a mangy-looking mutt, so you’ll have to live with a weird looking Pug instead. But what I’m really here to discuss this time around is the use of two adjectives in a sentence.

When you need to describe something using more than one adjective – let’s start with “the red, big book” – first you need the subject of the sentence: 


 Next, we need the adjectives that describe the book:

/sǐi dɛɛng/
(color red)

(large, big)

With our noun set and two adjectives in tow, we typically think that we can mash these words together and everything will be hunky dory. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. What is missing, and understandably is very confusing, is the use of a classifier for the subject of the sentence.

(On a side note, the picture of another Pug on the classifier page is absolutely unintentional and a lucky coincidence. Anyway…)

Classifiers are a pain in the butt and I don’t want to go into much detail on their use here; suffice it to say that you need to add the classifier in between the first and second adjective. In this case, the classifier for a book is:

(classifier for “book”)

Now that you have the classifier, all you have to do it insert it in between the adjectives. Doing so gives us this:

/nǎng~sʉ̌ʉ sǐi dɛɛng lêm yài/
(book color red “classifier for book” big)
The red, big book.

To my knowledge, the order of adjectives doesn’t really matter, so long as the classifier is in there.

Here is one more, the one that this article is titled after: That Old, Dirty Dog

/sù~nák gɛ̀ɛ dtua nán sòk~gà~bpròk /
(Dog old “classifier for dog” that dirty)
That old, dirty dog.

Don’t let the word “that” confuse you in regards to its placement. Just remember to add those words (demonstrative adjectives or whatever you want to call them) after the classifier and you’ll be fine!