Unit 5.2

Order of Adjectives

Adjectives

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Introduction

Adjectives are determiners that modify or describe a person or a thing.

When we have more than one adjective, we need to place them in a certain way.

Form

Adjectives can appear either before a noun or after a verb.
{See Attributive and Predicative Adjectives, B1 level}

When these adjectives belong to different groups, they should be placed in the following order:
Quantity + Value & Opinion + Size + Shape + Age + Colour + Origin + Material

NOTE: If we have two or more adjectives belonging to the same group, we connect them with and.

Example

  • I bought one small mouse for my computer.
  • It was a beautiful warm summer.
  • She met a polite 21-year-old Polish guy at the metro station.
  • We bought two short red cotton party dresses last week.
  • They were playing with three imaginary big round yellow plastic balls.

Use

When we have more than one adjective, we must place them in a specific order.

Summary

It is common to find sentences with more than one adjective. When this is the case, we need to follow a strict order in which we write adjectives, depending on the type of adjective they belong to.

The order is:

First quantity, then value and opinion, then size, shape, age, colour, origin and, lastly, material.

For example:
— “My dad bought a rectangular red wooden table.” = We put the adjectives in order while we are writing the sentence: quantity (a) + shape (rectangular) + colour (red) + material (wooden).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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