“A LOVELY LITTLE OLD RECTANGULAR GREEN FRENCH SILVER WHITTLING KNIFE”. The “Johnson” section of the Economist (September 24) considers (here) a rule for the order of English adjectives propounded by Mark Forsyth in THE ELEMENTS OF ELOQUENCE. Apparently this new rule caused a stir (Johnson refers to “how eagerly word-nerds recently shared this tit-bit about adjective order on social media). The impact of the rule arises from the fact that people seem to follow the rule even though they have never seen it formulated. Johnson gives this as an example of a linguistic rule that you don’t know that you know.
Forsyth formulates the rule for the order of adjectives as: “opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose and then Noun”.
Try changing the order of the adjectives describing the whittling knife and see how it sounds.