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Hi all 

I need to translate the phrase 'my beautiful little sister' - a simple phrase I know but hey I'm a beginner :-)

My initial thought was 'ma belle petite soeur' but I seem to be getting conflicting advice. I have been told that 'ma petite belle soeur' is the correct translation.  Can someone please tell me which is correct and explain the difference.

Many thanks

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'ma petite belle-sœur " could mean "my little sister-in-law" (as well as  'my beautiful little sister' )

So I think it would be better to say 'ma belle petite soeur'  to avoid ambiguity.

Yep, that's how I'd understand it. "Ma belle petite soeur" sounds a lot more natural too. Same if you go with other adjectives ("ma jolie petite soeur", ma magnifique petite soeur"...). I think it's because "petite soeur" already has a meaning by itself, but I'm not sure it's the reason. (But if you really want to use the other way for some reason, at least use a comma: "ma petite, belle soeur" so it will sound less weird.)

Incidentally, irrespectively of the existence of "belle-soeur" etc, there's an interesting observation that across languages, the ordering of adjectives tends to be roughly similar.

There's a general tendency across languages for adjectives relating to 'quality' to come before adjectives relating to 'quantity' which could in itself account for the ordering seen in French here.


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