Adjective Placement and Order in English Grammar

Adjective Placement and Order in English Grammar

In this lesson, we will learn the place of adjectives in a sentence and where do they appear. We will also learn about the order of different types of adjective

Adjective Placement and Order in English Grammar

Adjective Order

When you want to assign a specific quality or description to a noun, you use an adjective. So what if you want to assign more than one qualities to a noun?
There is actually a specific order in which you can order the adjectives.
It's interesting to know that many native English speakers are not consciously aware of this rule. They just use it naturally.
After this lesson, you can use this rule like a native speaker.


Adjectives describe a noun. They give more information about a person/thing/place etc.
They usually come before a noun or after the verb be.

That baby is cute .

She is a cute baby .

Now, imagine you have a car. And you want to describe it with more than one adjective. For example, you want to say it's red and Italian.
Do we say 'Red Italian car' or 'Italian red car?'

Adjectives: Word Order

The general rule of adjectives before a noun is as follows:

Opinion Size Age Shape Color Origin Material Purpose Noun

Now let's look at an example. Note that it is not very common to use so many adjectives before a noun. This is just an example for you to see how this rule works:

beautiful small new shiny red Italian sports car

fancy big old round brown German wooden musical clock


Some adjectives describe a general opinion. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun.

  • beautiful
  • lovely
  • nice
  • strange
  • awful

Some adjectives describe a specific opinion. We only use these adjectives to describe particular kinds of noun. For example, people, animals, food etc.

  • delicious
  • tasty
  • comfortable
  • intelligent
  • friendly

Usually you put a general opinion in front of a specific opinion.

a lovely comfortable home

a nice friendly person

Size and Shape

By 'size', we mean how big or small a noun is, for example, big, small, tiny, huge etc. and the height of a noun (tall, short etc.)
By 'shape', we mean the physical quality of a noun (round, oval, triangular etc.) it also includes the weight and length of a noun, for example, long, fat, heavy.

a big fat cat

a small round plastic table


By 'purpose' we mean what the noun is used for.

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