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 countless.

Comments

Hi,

Im so confused. Which one is correct, " Big beautiful house." Or Beautiful big house."? I see sentenced where Size comes first before the quality, how so? Thank you so much.

Hello MissR

The rules here are guidelines, which means they don't explain every single possibility. If you explained the full context, that might help us be able to explain it.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I have a doubt. By descriptive adjective do you mean a fact? that's what I have seen in other explanations as there are several different explanations for adjective order. For example "a delicious fried chicken" was given as an example of personal opinion and then a fact. Would you say that a descriptive adjective is something like a fact then?
Thank you in advance!

Hello Pablo Diablo

Yes, despite the differences in name, that's the idea. The important thing is distinguishing between an opinion and something more objective.

In that example, 'delicious' is an opinion and 'fried' is a fact/description. For example, for many people, fried chicken is delicious, but for vegans it is disgusting. On the other hand, a fried chicken is fried whether you are a vegan or a meat-eater.

Does that make sense?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

That does make sense.
Thank you for taking the time to explain.

Hello there, this has nothing to do with this topic, but I'd like to know how i can find a description of the tenses here on this site for example "present simple tense"
Thank you

Hello Roman...

You can find this in the Verbs section of our English grammar reference.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask if the following word, demanding, is properly used in the following sentence:
This school/university is demanding(I would like to say that it is really good so someone has to study and have high marks in order to succeed)
Thank you in advance

Hello agie
As far as I know, 'demanding' is normally used to speak of a specific course or teacher (e.g. 'Inorganic chemistry is really demanding' or 'Professor Smith is more demanding than most'), but I think you could say that.
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me please? Are all the following sentences correct? If so, what is the difference between them?
- England and Germany are in north Europe.
- England and Germany are in northern Europe.
- England and Germany are in northerly Europe.
Thank you.

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