Sometimes we use more than one adjective in front of a noun:

He was a nice intelligent young man.
She had a small round black wooden box.

Opinion adjectives:

Some adjectives give a general opinion. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun:

 

good bad lovely  strange
beautiful nice brilliant excellent
awful important wonderful nasty

 

Some adjectives give a specific opinion. We only use these adjectives to describe particular kinds of noun:

Food: tasty; delicious
Furniture, buildings: comfortable; uncomfortable
People, animals: clever; intelligent; friendly

We usually put a general opinion in front of a specific opinion:

Nice tasty soup.
A nasty uncomfortable armchair
A lovely intelligent animal

Usually we put an adjective that gives an opinion in front of an adjective that is descriptive:

a nice red dress; a silly old man; those horrible yellow curtains

We often have two adjectives in front of a noun:

a handsome young man; a big black car; that horrible big dog

Sometimes we have three adjectives, but this is unusual:

a nice handsome young man;
a big black American car;
that horrible big fierce dog

It is very unusual to have more than three adjectives.

Adjectives usually come in this order:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
General
opinion
Specific
opinion
Size  Shape Age  Colour Nationality Material

We use some adjectives only after a link verb:

afraid alive alone asleep
content glad  ill ready
sorry sure unable well

Some of the commonest -ed adjectives are normally used only after a link verb:

annoyed;  finished;  bored; pleased; thrilled

We say:

Our teacher was ill.
My uncle was very glad when he heard the news.
The policeman seemed to be very annoyed

but we do not say:

We had an ill teacher.
When he heard the news he was a very glad uncle
He seemed to be a very annoyed policeman

A few adjectives are used only in front of a noun:

north
south
east
west

northern
southern
eastern
western

countless
occasional
lone

eventful
indoor
outdoor

We say:

He lives in the eastern district.
There were countless problems with the new machinery.

but we do not say:

The district he lives in is eastern
The problems with the new machinery were countless.

Try these tasks to improve your adjective ordering.

Task 1

Exercise

Task 2

Exercise

Task 3

Exercise

Task 4

Exercise

 

 

Section: 

Comments

In the song "What a Wonderful World" there is the construction noun + of + adjective like "skies of blue" and "clouds of white". What's the difference? Is that grammatically correct?

Hello ritameireless,

In poetry and songs, artists often break the rules a bit and I'd say that's what's happening with the lyrics of this song. It's certainly not something you would hear or see in ordinary speaking or writing, where you'd likely find 'blue skies' and 'white clouds' instead. There are all kinds of interpretations of this song, but at least on one level, it refers simply to blue skies and white clouds.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone :

why we put the adjective after the noun in this case

truck bomb
week alone
something odd

Hello nkmg,

Some adjectives do not appear before nouns. For example, we use 'alone' after a link verb but not before a noun. Some words can be both adjectives and adverbs, such as 'alone'. Some adjectives always follow the noun, such as 'galore'.

You need to look at the items in context. For example, 'truck bomb' is a compound noun and if you want to identify one part of it as an adjective then it would be 'truck', which describes the kind of bomb it is.

'Alone' is both an adjective and an adverb. I suspect it is an adverb here, though without the context it is hard to say.

It is possible to say 'an odd something' but we more often say 'something odd'. Again, however, you need to look at the context. It may well be a reduced relative clause: 'something which is odd'.

The context is important to understand why certain forms are used. Without the context we can only guess, I am afraid.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, in the above example [ He lives in the eastern district. ] can we say[ The district he lives, is in eastern side ]. In the exercise [ afraid and frightened : why ' Don't be afraid ' can not be correct ans? ].
Sir i am really enjoying here and learned a lot. Thank you for your kind support

Hello The_Unknown,

In this sentence 'eastern' is not just a description of location but a division of the city, like 'southern London' or 'northern England'. It would not be used in the way you suggest, but if you wanted to describe something else in this way then you would need to say '...in which he lives is on the eastern side'.

In the exercise, you are asked to select the incorrect sentence. 'Please, don't be afraid' is a correct sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
In task 3 some sentences are wrong because, in my opinion, use some adjectives in front of a noun. How can I formulate a right sentence using the same adjectives (afraid, alive, asleep, well)? Can be right say: Tom looked afraid like a rabbit. The tsunami destroyed everything alive. The thief walked quietly past the dogs asleep. Bright dog's eyes are a sign of well.
Have a better way to say these sentences? thank you.

Hello leticiaana,

As the information on the page says, some adjectives are used only before a noun, while others are only used after link verbs. It is also important to remember that the adjective must be with the noun which it describes. That is why some of your examples are not correct. For example:

Bright dog's eyes are a sign of well.

The problem here is that the adjective 'bright' needs to be linked to the noun 'eyes' and in your version it looks like the dog which is bright, not the eyes! The sentence needs to be formulated differently:

Bright eyes are a sign of a dog's health.

Bright eyes on a dog are a sign of health.

 

Similarly, your example Tom looked afraid like a rabbit changes the meaning of the sentence slightly, though it is grammatically correct. 'Afraid' needs to be linked to rabbit, not to 'Tom' here. Since 'afraid' cannot be before a noun we need to use 'frightened'. 

It is the same with The thief walked quietly past the dogs asleep. You could use a non-defining relative clause ('...the dogs, which were asleep') but I think makes the sentence inelegant and wordy; using 'sleeping' is much better here.

The tsunami destroyed everything alive is fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Can we say [ Dog's bright eyes are a sign of well ] as i put bright (Adjective) before eyes(Noun)?.
[ Tom looked like a frightened rabbit ] this is correct?

Hello The_Unknown,

Peter's response to leticiana's question on another page answers pretty much the same question.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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