I have a Chinese textbook that gives two examples of a sentence, saying that the order of the noun modifiers can be changed for emphasis, but it doesn't explain which sentence emphasises what.

The two examples are:

  • 【那个】【戴眼镜的】【很高的】人
  • 【很高的】【戴眼镜的】【那个】人

I'm assuming that one of these is meant to emphasis the person's height more than the other, but I don't know which one.

  • What I would say, is that, the emphasis really comes in when you speak. When speaking, you can make emphasis by varying the volume. As for writing, I am afraid there might be no commonly accepted rules.
    – zyy
    Feb 15, 2019 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


I can't see any particular emphasis from the different syntax. I prefer 1. , it seems somehow 'correcter'. The typical spoken answer in English would only be a sentence fragment, according to grammar.

The Royal Order of Adjectives does not pertain in Chinese, I fear. In Chinese we can write 'the wear/wearing glasses person = 那个戴眼镜的人', which is not an option in English. (不好:the very tall wearing glasses one)

Who is your Dad?
1E. (My Dad is) the one wearing glasses, very tall.
1.1E (My Dad is) the very tall one, wearing glasses.

Who is your Dad?
2E. Very tall, wearing glasses, that one (is my Dad).

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