Level: intermediate

Two adjectives

We often have two adjectives in front of a noun:

a handsome young man
a big black car
that horrible big dog

Some adjectives give a general opinion. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun:

good
bad
lovely
strange
nice
beautiful
brilliant
excellent
awful
important
wonderful
nasty

He’s a good wonderful brilliant bad dreadful teacher.

That’s a good wonderful brilliant bad dreadful book.

Some adjectives give a specific opinion. We only use these adjectives to describe particular kinds of noun, for example:

Food Furniture, buildings People, animals
delicious
tasty
comfortable
uncomfortable
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

We usually put an opinion adjective in front of a descriptive adjective:

a nice red dress
a silly old man
those horrible yellow curtains

Order of adjectives 1

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Order of adjectives 2

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Adjectives after link verbs

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
bored
finished
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.

Order of adjectives 3­

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Level: advanced

Three or more adjectives

Sometimes we have three adjectives in front of a noun, 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
Order of adjectives 4­

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Adjectives in front of nouns

A few adjectives are used only in front of a noun:

north
south
east
west

northern
southern
eastern
western
countless
occasional
lone
mere
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 occasional.

Comments

Hello,
I would like to ask what the following sentence means;
I work funny hours
funny means, not 9 am-5 pm?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

In this context 'funny' means strange or odd. That would suggest hours which are not typical or hours which are not regular, and certainly not regular 9-5.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask which of the following words is correct
When we want to describe a city with many people and restaurants, bars.
We can say that this city is full of life?
It is a vivid city?
or it is a living city?
Thank you in advance

Hi anie2,

Yes, 'full of life' is good. You could also say 'vibrant', but I wouldn't say 'vivid' or 'living' here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi every one.
Could you please help me to find out how can I use these pair-adj next to each other?
Healthy Distinct Sport or Distinct healthy Sport?
Which one them is Correct?
Thank you ^.^

Hi Sasan1989,

My ear tells me that the correct order if 'distinct healthy sport'. I'm afraid, however, that since I don't understand what a 'distinct sport' would be, it's difficult for me to justify or explain my intuition. If you could explain what you mean by this and what context it would be in, I can try to help you understand it a bit better.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Mr Kirk
Thank you very much for your quick response.
I'm going to say that for example: Tai Chi or Yuga is a Distinctive sport than Others and its very healthy Sport. I wanted to put distinct and healthy beside each other but didn't know how to use it.

Thank you

Hello Sasan1989,

I think you can say this with a conjunction or without one:

Tai Chi is a distinctive healthy sport.

Tai Chi is a distinctive and healthy sport.

 

The first sentence tells us that Tai Chi is a healthy sport which is distinctive. The second sentence tells us that it is a sport which has two characteristics – being healthy and being distinctive.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

Do we need to use articles before both the adjectives used for the same person?

She is a tall and a beautiful lady.

Or

She is a tall and beautiful lady.

Kindly help.

Regards

Hello amol,

You only need to use the article once. It is not grammatically incorrect to repeat it, but it is poor stylistically.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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