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







''Soon-to-be-retiring detective X is partnered with Y.''

''Blood on John is from a yet-to-be-identified victim.''

Is there a rule that would give information how to construct that kind of hyphenated adjectives? They are like whole phrases there.

Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

There are some guidelines for using hyphens in compound adjectives in the Oxford dictionary I'd refer you to. As far as I know, you should apply those same rules to the adjective phrases you ask about. Hyphenated adjectives with more than one, and especially more than two, hyphens, are fairly rare and avoided in many styles of writing.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi peter

she is a beautiful young woman. are this sentence grammatically correct.

many thanks

Hello taj25,

Yes. You should capitalise 'she' (it should be 'She'), but that it is a spelling error, not a grammatical one.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


''The physical evidence, such as fingerprints and handwriting samples, do not implicate him.''

Why is ''fingerprints'' plural, but not singular?

''The case's notoriety weighs on Toschi, who is bothered whe...''

Souldn't the beginning be ''notoriety of the case?''

Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

The singular of the word is 'fingerprint' and the plural is 'fingerprints'. I assume there is more than one fingerprint involved.

You can say either 'The case's notoriety' or 'The notoriety of the case' - both are perfectly fine. The choice is a stylistic one.


I'm not sure what relevance this question has to the topic of this page. We ask users to post questions on relevant pages so that the questions and answers can be seen by others interested in the same topic, making the comments section as useful as possible for our users.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi kirk

i have a question about adjective & adverb. i mentioned below the sentence. pls see the sentence

"That Dracula film was absolutely terrifying."

why you using "adjective & adverb" together. is it possible to come together or some sentence will be?

Hello taj25,

The adverb here ('absolutely') modifies the adjective ('terrifying'), making it stronger. This is a common use for adverbs such as 'very', 'quite', 'extremely', 'absolutely' etc.

You can read more about this use of adverbials on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


I have once seen a phrase like "a old round table". In this case, age comes first before shape. Could it be possible to write the adjective "old" before "round"? Would you mind teaching me about this order? Many thanks!

Kaung Nyi

Hello Kaung Nyi,

The order of adjectives is somewhat flexible - the phrase you mention is a good example, and it is indeed correct. There is another explanation of this on a BBC page which I think is also quite good and which may help you, but if you have any other specific questions, please don't hesitate to ask us.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team