order of adjectives

 

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

 

 

Comments

Hello abbasijawi1,

It is not quite correct.  The correct form would be:

The district he lives in is in the east.

We could also add 'of the city' / 'of the country' and so on at the end if we wanted to be more specific.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I guess it's grammatically correct if we say The problems with the new machinery were countless, right ?

Hello omaxios,

Yes, that sentence is correct.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me with the order of this adjectives:

"Cotton blue socks" Is this correct_

Thank you!
Marlene

Hello Apollobeach25,

No, that is not standard because cotton is a material (position 8) and blue is a colour (position 6): blue cotton socks.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Our teacher also provided us with other types of adjectives which are : origin , type and other qualities .. and i still confused .. my question is how i will put them in order

Hi meriem,

There are different ways to name the different kinds of adjectives. It sounds to me like origin is the same as nationality and type is the same as material. Does that make sense?

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

ah ok thank you ..
Look how she has puted them
Material : like wooden
Type : like electric
and also what about the type which is called :"other qualities like : cold
Actually i can not understand our teacher of grammar

I am confused between ed Adjective and second form of a verb .how can we distinguish them in sentence?

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