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 sir
Cant we put the adjective of shape nearer to the noun than the adjective of age?
I mean like this

3 4 5 6 7 8
Size age shape Colour Nationality Material

Hello Shabnam Pouyan,

Yes, you can do that.  As the information says, the order given here is the usual order, but it is quite flexible in some areas and the speaker can choose to move some of the words around for effect or emphasis, or just because of personal preference.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I need to translate a title…well, I am getting confuse about the order of names…
1. THE INHIBITORY POWER DETERMINATION OF Mentha ESSENTIAL OIL
or
2. DETERMINATION OF THE INHIBITORY POWER OF Mentha ESSENTIAL OIL
or another way!?
?

Thanks in advance!

Hi AussieAmanda,

I'm afraid it's difficult for me to say which translation is better, as I don't understand either one all that well. But if I had to choose between the two that you've suggested, I'd choose the second one because it sounds a bit more natural, though what "determination" means isnt' clear. In general, more than a couple of nouns one right after the other can be a bit confusing and/or sound unnatural.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Why are the words like supposed, expected etc. are called adjective.
E.g. He is supposed to go to the store.

Hi maluram,

supposed and expected can be used in different ways, so you have to look at them carefully. Sometimes they are past participles acting as adjectives, and that is why they are considered adjectives in such contexts.

I'd recommend you think of be supposed to as a unit in itself which is used to talk about what people have to do or are expected to do. In the sentence you mention, it sounds like there was a plan that the subject go to the store.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Guys,
I want to ask you about the tasks under the explanations, because its not available  from my account.
Thanks in advance.

Hi Adeeb Natsheh,

Are you by chance using an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad? These tasks were made using Flash, which is not displayed on most iOS devices. We are working to fix this, but for the moment you may have to use a computer or different device to do the exercises.

If you're not using an iOS-based device, please let me know what kind of device and browser you're using, and hopefully I can help you solve this problem.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir
In my facebook account '' British council'' provide a link ''7 help yourself english spelling reference ''.but i miss it so i request you to provide it again on your reply or again published in facebook

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