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Hello,

I am slightly puzzled at the word order in the phrases "color shirt" and "size shoe". When people ask you

- What color shirt would you like with those pants?
- What size shoe are you?

Aren't they asking about the "color of/for the shirt" and the "size of the shoes"? Shouldn't it be

- What shirt color would you like etc.?
- What shoe size are you?

In trying to answer my own question, I think I've found a solution for the shirt case. I think the idea is that "color shirt" is a category. You have white shirts and you have shirts in colors, that is 'color shirts'. Is that correct?

Unfortunately, I'm still stuck in the case of shoes. I don't see how I can get from "size of shoes" to "size shoe".
I know the preposition "in" is also used when speaking of shoes.

- Do you have these in the 12?

So there's a similarity with phrases with 'color', but I'm not sure how that can help me.

Can you please help me?

Thank you
H.
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Comments  
Henry74 What color shirt would you like with those pants? Emotion: yes

What size shoe are you? Emotion: no
What shoe size are you? Emotion: yes
Thank you Canadian45.

Could please elaborate a little?
1) Is my interpretation of "color shirt" vs "shirt color" correct?
2) I have found some instances of "size shoe" in COCA
- "What size shoe do you wear?" (from the book 'The bonfire of vanities')
- It's absurd to think that two people would show up in the same size shoe with the same pattern (CBS Morning)

Are they wrong?

H.
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Henry74In trying to answer my own question, I think I've found a solution for the shirt case. I think the idea is that "color shirt" is a category. You have white shirts and you have shirts in colors, that is 'color shirts'. Is that correct?
Not really. Try to see "what color" as asking about (the) color. The expected answer is for example '(A) red/green/blue/yellow, etc. (shirt)'. So it's actually more like [What color] [shirt] would you like with those pants?
Henry74"What size shoe do you wear?" (from the book 'The bonfire of vanities')
That one is fine, I think. Same pattern, i.e. [What size] [shoe] do you wear?

Still, I'd be tempted to say: "What size shoes do you wear?"
Emotion: smile
ozzourti it's actually more like [What color] [shirt] would you like with those pants?
I see. Thank you ozzurti. Does that mean that I can use that pattern with anything that can have a color? E.g.

- What color wall would go with those tiles?

H.
Henry74- What color wall would go with those tiles?
No, because you will paint the walls, so you are asking about the color of paint for the walls. The color will be chosen separately, the walls are already there.

What wall color would go with those tiles?
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Henry74I see. Thank you ozzurti. Does that mean that I can use that pattern with anything that can have a color?
As long as it makes sense, e.g. What color eyes does she have?
Henry74What color wall would go with those tiles?
The sentence is grammatically correct, but it implies that you have yet to choose a wall that matches the color of the tiles -- a highly unlikely scenario.
Henry74word order in the phrases "color shirt" and "size shoe"
What color (of) shirt do you prefer?
What size (of) shoe do you take?
Henry74how I can get from "size of shoes" to "size shoe"
Just put 'of' between them. Emotion: smile

What length (of) sleeve do you prefer?
What strength (of) aspirin do you take?
What size (of) font do you use in emails?

To my ear they are all casual-style variants derived from more standard phrases like 'the color of the shirt", "the size of the shoe", "the length of the sleeve", and so on. Unfortunately for the learner, the degree to which this grammatical pattern is productive is difficult to know with any exactitude. There are really very few cases where this turn of phrase occurs, and people tend to use the pattern just because they've heard someone else use it. When they imitate others in this way, they almost always use only the same words that they've heard before (what size shoe, what color shirt), and they don't usually attempt to extend the pattern to other cases (what temperature coffee, what height woman, what altitude flight).
Henry74Shouldn't it be- What shirt color would you like etc.?
This alternate works well for 'shoe size' — in fact, probably for almost all 'X size' expressions that involve clothing — but not so well for the others. I can't provide any useful rule that separates those that are quite acceptable from those that fall short.

CJ
CalifJimWhat color (of) shirt do you prefer? What length (of) sleeve do you prefer? What strength (of) aspirin do you take? To my ear they are all casual-style variants derived from more standard phrases like 'the color of the shirt", "the length of the sleeve", and so on.
Oh, OK. It's just a conversational drop of the preposition "of". Well, the mistery turned out to be less misterious than I thought. Emotion: smile
And OK, I'll stick to phrases that I will hear used.

Thank you Jim. Thanks everybody.
H.
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