Adjective Order

Adjectives function to modify nouns in order to give detailed description about the nouns. Using adjectives is very important to make your writing more descriptive and interesting. Adjectives help readers/listeners draw a picture on their mind about the thing you are described.

Actually there are some kinds of adjectives, and attributive adjective is the one we are going to discuss here. Attributive adjectives are adjectives which come before the noun/pronoun they modify. You can use two or more attributive adjectives together by following certain order. Adjectives that express opinions usually come before the others.

Follow the order below to present the adjectives you use!


1. Determiners

Determiners introduce the noun being described. Determiners include articles, demonstratives, quantifiers, possessive determiners, etc.

Examples: a, an, the, one, two, this, that, these, those, some, many, my, your, our, all, etc.

2. Quality/Opinion/Judgement

It tells your opinion about the noun being described; since it is opinion or judgement other people may not agree with you.

Examples: beautiful, ugly, nice, boring, interesting, dull, dumb, good, bad, smart, silly, easy, difficult, fast, slow, lovely, horrible, etc.

3. Size

It tells you how big or small the thing is.

Examples: big, small, large, tiny, enormous, little, tall, short, high, low, etc.

4. Age

It tells about how young or old the thing is.

Examples: new, young, old, modern, ancient, antique, historic, etc.

5. Shape

It describes the shape of the thing.

Examples: square, round, flat, rectangular, oval, circular, etc.

6. Color

It certainly tells the colour of the things.

Examples: white, black, red, reddish, pink, green, dark green, yellow, blue, navy blue, grey, purple, etc.

7. Nationality or Place of Origin

It describes where the one or the thing comes from.

Examples: French, American, Greek, French, Asian, American, Canadian, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Eastern, Western, etc.

8. Material

It describes what the thing is made from.

Examples: wooden, woolen, cotton, paper, gold, silver, brass, metallic, iron, glass, plastic, brick, vegetable, etc.

9. Purpose or Qualifier

It tells what the thing is used for. These kind of adjectives frequently end with “-ing”.

Examples: sleeping as in sleeping bag, fishing as in fishing boat, racing as in racing car, running as in running shoes, raining as in raing clothes, waiting as in waiting room, roasting as in roasting tin, washing as in washing machine, or foldout sofa, etc.

Using the order above, we can arrange some adjectives to describe nouns as in the following sentences:

  1. I love the (determiner) beautiful (opinion) big (size) old (age) yellow (color) brick (material) house.
  2. He gave me a lovely new red European car.
  3. She bought wonderful new Italian shoes.
  4. I want that cute small pink bow.
  5. Don’t put your food into the ugly old black plastic bag.
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Filed under: English Course (Grammar)

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