To read more on other rules of writing in semi-cursive script (行書), please see the the full list.
There are many variants of stroke order when it comes to writing Chinese characters. The same character written by Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or Korean calligrapher, may have a different stroke order.
In case of the character 耳 (ear), the Japanese stroke order varies from the Chinese one. The long vertical stroke is written as the last one in Japan, whereas in China it is the 3rd stroke. Now, since we are discussing Chinese calligraphy script, I will follow the Chinese stroke order. Consequently, if the long vertical stroke is written as the last one in semi-cursive script (although it does not have to be so), then the stroke order is changed.
If you watch the video (below), you will understand why it feels more natural to change the stroke order in semi-cursive script, in this particular case. Being based on the concept of the unbroken line (連綿), alteration of the stroke order allows for faster and more fluent writing.
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