Now we will study the adjective order, that is, the order we should use the adjectives in a sentence.
Let’s review firstly the adjectives and then study the adjective order…
We use adjectives to describe nouns.
Most adjectives can be used in front of a noun:
- They have a beautiful house.
- We saw a very exciting film last night.
or after a link verb like be, look or feel:
- Their house is beautiful.
- That film looks interesting.
But there are situations which require more than one adjective to describe a noun.
Review your knowledge about adjectives with some exercises.
Order of adjectives
Whenever we use more than one adjective to describe a noun, we have to follow a specific order of placement, like in the following sentences:
- He was a nice intelligent young man.
- She had a small round black wooden box.
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.
Some adjectives give a general opinion. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun:
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.
Adjectives usually come in this order (GS3 ACNM):
The following picture picture also helps (notice it is a slightly different order):
Try some exercises to improve your knowledge about adjective order.
Adjectives after a link verb
We use some adjectives only after a link verb:
Some of the commonest –ed adjectives are normally used only after a link verb:
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
Beijo do pai!