How to Write Order of Adjectives

Written by Nigina Dustova

We can use more than one adjective before a noun. The order of adjectives in front of a noun is as follows:

1.) quality / opinion + size, etc. The most general adjective usually comes first:
a beautiful large French handmade teak cupboard

2.) size / age / shape / color + where from? + past participle:
a large French handmade cupboard

3.) Where from? + past participle:
a French handmade kitchen cupboard

Or: past participle + where from?
a handmade French kitchen cupboard

We order adjectives according to their meaning. This is the normal order:
1. Opinion (how good?)
2. Size (how big?)
3. Age (how old?)
5. Color (which?)
6. Origin (where from?)
7. Material (made of?)
8. Type (what kind?)
9. Purpose (what for?)

Examples:
a small green insect (size, color)
Japanese industrial designers (origin, type)
a wonderful new face cream (opinion, age, purpose)
a long boring train journey (size, quality, type)

Exercises: Put the adjectives in proper order. Begin each sentence with I’m looking for…

  1. clock radio – white – Taiwanese – cheap – for my bedside table
  2. polished – beautiful – antique – dining-table – mahogany – English
  3. canvas – American – a pair of – trainers – grey and red – which I can use for jogging
  4. cottage –stone-built – small – old – country
  5. cotton – dress – summer – pink and white – for my holiday

Answers:

  1. a cheap white Taiwanese clock radio for my bedside table
  2. a beautiful antique English polished mahogany dining-table
  3. a pair of grey and red American canvas trainers which I can use for jogging
  4. a small old stone-built country cottage
  5. a pink and white cotton summer dress for my holiday
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