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
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:





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


Task 2


Task 3


Task 4






Hello, Sarah[subject] should not be[verb] held[?] responsible[adjective] for what her brother does. Adjective ''responsible'' modifies subject ''Sarah''. How does ''held'' work in this sentece?

Hello MCWSL,

The phrase here is 'hold somebody responsible for something', and there is a perfect modal auxiliary before it. There are many phrases like this in English where a very is followed by a direct object and then an adjective:

keep someone honest

make someone happy

do something right

In your setence the adjective is followed by a prepositional phrase (for someone).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

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,


The LearnEnglish Team


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.

"Freezing" can be an adj or adv. In the sentence, "freezing" functions as adv because it modifies the adj "cold". You should take a look at adjective phrases lessons for further understanding.

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,
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.