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Using more than one adjective

to Adjectives

to Learning English

Most people dont know why adjectives in English have the placement
pattern they do. If you are interested in linguistics, you might be able to
find the reason. But in speaking English and writing English, the reason
doesnt really matter. Just learn the pattern and practice until it
becomes a habit. It isnt easy, because the order may seem to have no
logical basis, but it is the way of English, and in order to become fluent
in English, this is what you must learn.
Below is the order in which adjectives are used in a sentence. Some
resources list: size, age, then shape. Another change would be:
material, then origin. I said it wasnt easy.

1. Determiners:
a.

articles (a, an, the): a cow; the house, an orange.

b.

possessives (my, your, his, hers, our, their): my hat, his


radio, their motorboat.

c.

demonstratives (this, that, those, these): this minute, that


doughnut, those books.

d.

quantifiers (some, any, few, many, all, etc.): some friends,


any hotel, few apples.

e.

numbers (one, two, three, etc.): one shoe, four streets,


twenty pearls.

2. Opinion/fact:
a. Opinion is what you think about something. Fact is what
is definitely true about something:
A beautiful sunset (opinion). A five-story building
(fact)

3. Size and Shape:

a. Adjectives that are subject to objective measure: a skinny


man, the round table, a big cookie.

4. Age:
a. Words that show age: young man, new shirt, old car.

5.

5. Color:
a. Adjectives that show color: pink rose, pale face, black hat.
NOTE: when using two colors use andgreen and orange
curtains, blue and purple shirt.

6. Origin:
a. Words that describe the source of a noun: American
movies, Greek food, French fashions

7. Material:
a. Words that describe what something is made of: plastic
fork, gold ring, silver bracelet

8. Qualifier:
a. A final limiter often considered part of the noun: table leg,
easy chair, blue jeans.
NOTE: We usually use no more than three adjectives preceding a noun.
You may see more than three occasionally, but it is usually done for
literary effect or emphasis, and not common usage! (P.S. articles, even
though they are also adjectives and must be put in the proper order, are
not counted as one of the three) Notice that the adjectives are not
separated by commas.

A beautiful new French car--(opinion - age - origin)

The small round red bowl--(dimension - shape - color)

An ugly orange cotton shirt--(opinion - color - material)

Some huge old Victorian houses--(dimension - age - origin)

EXCEPTION:

She loves big houses. Does she love old big houses or new

big houses? (In the question form, the adjective order changes
age>dimension instead of dimension>age.)

I want a new sports car. Do you want a red new car or a

blue new car? (In the question form, the order changes from
age>color to color>age.)
Adjectives in the same class (age, shape, opinion, etc.) are called
coordinated adjectives. You need to put a comma between them. (See
Commas). To decide whether or not a comma is needed, try putting and
or but between the adjectives. The tacky, tasteless furnishings . . .
CAN be said The tacky and tasteless furnishings . . . so you know the
comma was needed. Tacky and tasteless are both adjectives of opinion.
When you have three coordinated adjectives, separate them all with
commas, but DONT insert a comma between the last adjective and the
noun: the large, heavy, plump pumpkin. a pretty, popular, peppy
cheerleader.

adjective order
opinion age shape an interesting old square box
dimension color material a thin red wollen carpet
age origin material a new German wooden toy
opinion shape origin a boring square American box s
hape color material a round silver metal disk
dimension age shape a big old square house
color origin material a green Japanese silk scarf
opinion dimension age an interesting thick new gadget
shape color origin a triangular orange Chinese car