Forsyth’s chief and admirable ambition is to demolish ‘the bleak and imbecile idea that the aim of writing is to express yourself clearly in plain, simple English using as few words as possible’.Reviewer Christopher Howse also writes:
The formula "opinion size age shape colour origin material purpose, then noun" is the long-sought answer to a difficult question. And, while agree with Howse when he says that "this knowledge is implicitly mastered by all native speakers", all writers occasionally -- and translators frequently -- hesitate and wonder what it the right order for a string of qualifiers.
It is, in fact, amazing how difficult this information is to track down. I've tried many times and never come up with more than partial answers. The question is important for writers and even more so for translations precisley because, as Forsyth says, "if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac".
As an acronym, that makes: OSASCOMP, or perhaps OSAS_COMP.
Would anyone like to suggest a mnemonic?