Thanks to something called ablaut reduplication — a rule stating that, if you repeat a word and change an internal vowel, the order you say them in has to follow I-A-O.
This is why it’s King Kong, Ding Dong, Tick Tock (which sounds right to your ear), and not Kong-King, Dong-Ding, and Tock-Tick (which doesn’t sound right at all!)
Ever wonder why it’s Little Red Riding Hood? The adjective rule helps you remember what order to put things in: it’s obscure, but yes, it is a thing!
ie: little green men, not green little men; and Big Bad Wolf, not Bad Big Wolf.
And… now you know about the
crazy things elements of eloquence* that I, as an editor, know, to help make your manuscript better! #knowledgeispower #research #grammar #saywhat?
*Editor’s Note- The “elements of eloquence” is a great book by Mark Forsyth! Get it and enjoy learning how to turn a phrase.