The Order of Adjectives

When we have more than one adjective before a noun, to sound naturally, these adjectives should go in a specific order.

Two basic principles

There two basic principles we must observe:

  1. Opinion adjectives are always put before fact adjectives.
  2. The order of fact adjectives depends on the facts they describe.

The usual order of adjectives is presented below:

order of adjective chart
  • Recently I’ve been to a small German town (size → origin).
  • Every fashion-monger should have a small black dress (size → color).
  • That’s a lovely young grey kitten (opinion → age → color).
  • I have a beautiful French wool sweater (opinion → origin → material).
  • Tom is a nice, intelligent young man (general opinion → specific opinion → age).
  • My grandmother has an old round wooden table in the country (age → shape → material).

General rules

There are some general rules to remember.

1. The most significant adjective should go immediately before the noun:

  • He gave me an old grandfather clock.

2. We use ‘and’ where the adjectives are in the same category (or when talking about colors):

  • Peter is tall and slim.
  • Cool colors such as blue and green have a calming effect.

3. For contrast we use ‘but’:

  • The house was charming but rundown.

4. With more than 2 adjectives use ‘and’ before the final one:

  • Her dress was green, yellow and orange.
Note: In English you should not put more than three adjectives in a row before a noun.

Here’s a good video explaining how to memorize easily the correct order of adjectives:

See also:

Fact and Opinion Adjectives

Common and Demonstrative Adjectives

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