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

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

Thank you very much!

Which one is better: The French blonde girl or The blonde French girl ?

Thank you Peter.

Hello Joaquim Pose,

Generally, we would say hair colour (blonde) before nationality (French). However, the context is important and can change this. For example, if we are answering the question 'Which blonde girl?' then we might answer 'The French blonde girl'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello ELT.
as per this topic some adjectives can only be used in front of noun e.g. eventful.
so I can say: I had an eventful trip. but is it wrong to say "my trip was quit eventful"?
best regards

Hello Ambitious learner,

Yes, that's fine - except that you should spell it 'quite' not 'quit'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teacher,
could you pleas tell me which of these following order of words are correct?:
the 13 bus stop
the number 13 bus stop,
number13 bus stop,
the bus stop of number 13,
bus stop number 13
I've got another couple of doubts if I can dare to ask:
Can I say"I'm going out for some shopping"?

Hello mariaidabertocchi,

The most natural way to say this, in my opinion, is 'the number 13 bus stop'. I think you can also say 'the 13 bus stop', but it does not sound as good, I would say.

We would use 'I'm going out for' in a different context to this. For example:

I'm going out for a meal

I'm going out for a run

With shopping we would be more likely to say:

I'm going out to do some shopping.

I'm going to out to do the shopping.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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