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Hello,

Could you please explain to me the difference between the two?

1. a sick young boy
2. a young sick boy

thanks in advance
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Comments  
If there is more to the sentences, there may be a difference, but I believe either is okay as presented. - they mean the same with both describing boy.
I may be imagining it, but I think I've seen #1 more often.
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the phrases are taken for an exercise where I was suppose to the difference in meaning between the two phrases.

So, I thought it should be , at least, a slight difference in meaning, maybe something different is stressed in each of the sentence.
They share the same meaning because you can interchange them and you can put "and" between the two adjectives and the concept remains.

Where the adjective lies in relationship to the noun may give a different connotation or meaning to the adjective closest to the noun. Ex: #1 may refer to health. #2 may be constrewed as a moral weakness in regards to the meaning of sick.

But neither word is an adverb and both are modifying boy, so both 1 and 2 mean the same thing to me.
This page may relate:

http://cctc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm#order
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I parse the two phrases syntactically as follows:
1. a (sick (young boy))
2. a (young (sick boy))
#1 sounds like to tell that "a young boy" happens to be sick, and #2 that "a sick boy" happens to be young.

By the way "a young boy" sounds a little odd to me, though I hear it quite often.
I think a "boy" itself connotes youngness. Am I wrong?

paco
I agree that young boy sounds a bit odd, although I can think of contexts where it would sound ok.

The word to indicate a lower age range child is 'little'. A 12 year old is still a boy, but would not appreciate being called a little boy. I'd use 'little' boy or girl up to around 5 or 6 years old.
Hello Nona

So do you mean "a young boy" would refer to "a male child of an age more than 5 to 6"?

paco
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