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

It is generally said to avoid Double superlative and comparative degree then why

He is more cleverer than John . ( this is wrong )
Who is more intelligent - Ram or Shyam . (This is correct)

When we compare using comparative degree then the thing which is compared is excluded from which it is being compared by the word "other"

The population of Mumbai is greater than any other town in Europe.

but when second term of comparison is given , it must correspond in construction with the first

The population of Mumbai is greater than that of any town in Europe.

Does both of the last two examples are correct or is there any difference which i am not getting ?

Hello  Piyush100990,

This sentence is correct:

The population of Mumbai is greater than that of any town in Europe.

This sentence is not correct:

The population of Mumbai is greater than any other town in Europe.

The reason it is not correct is that Mumbai is not in Europe, and using 'any other' suggests that it is.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!

Please look at the following sentence:

The weather is freezing cold.

Is the word "freezing" an adverb? I saw this statement and it reminded me of a formulation I once heard: "violent hot." I understand that "violent hot" is quaint and now improper, maybe coming from the seventeenth century.

Is "freezing" an adverb in that sentence?

Thank you very much.

When should a comma be added between adjectives?
A book published by Macmillan says a comma should be used between adjectives in an order. For example,
a beautiful, big book
a strange, little, round dot
black, Russian bears
brown, leather riding boots

I don’t remember a comma for the order of adjectives in American English. Is this a difference between American and British English?

Hell jthamsa,

Sometimes commas are used between adjectives and sometimes they are not - it depends on how the adjectives are being used. You can find many explanations of this on the internet - here's one example. I'm not sure exactly how the noun phrases you ask about are being used, but probably the first two would have commas whereas the latter two would not.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Could you explain why the use of commas in the first two phrases is ok? Another thing I don’t understand is that the second phrase “a strange, little, round dot” follows the order rule mentioned in the lesson above. In other words, strange (specific opinion), little (size), round (shape) are not coordinate adjectives. Why are commas appropriate here?

(P.S. Those noun phrases are not taken out of the context. They are the exact samples listed in the Macmillan book.)

Thanks again for reply.

Hello huycomf,

The order of adjectives is not completely fixed in English. Some of the sequence is strongly fixed - for example, we would rarely place colour before age - but much of the sequence is quite flexible. You can say either of these, for example:

An old round table.

A round old table.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
I see that the kinds of adjectives are complication and quite hard to memorize. Is any easy way to get remember each kind of adjectives referred to? for example Witch one is general opinion and other is specific....
Thank you

Hello Abou Maro,

I'm afraid you'll just have to memorise them. There is no rule to identify which is which; you need to remember the meanings.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages