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Position adjectives

The position of the adjective in the sentence

The placement of adjectives is something to take note of as it may vary from language to language. In English, as opposed to Spanish for example, adjectives go before the noun they are modifying (Example: The red car is mine.). Moreover, you may want to use more than one adjective to modify the same noun. In this case, you will need to remember the order in which to place each adjective.

The correct order

The correct order for the position of adjectives is as follows (The numbers refer to their position):

1.    Opinion (nice, lovely, ugly, terrible)
2.    Size (big, small, enormous, tiny)
3.    Age (old, new, 12-year-old, ancient)
4.    Shape (square, oval, round)
5.    Colour (blue, red, golden, spotted)
6.    Origin (Italian, European, American)
7.    Material (wooden, gold, silk)
8.    Used for/be about (dinner – dinner table, flower – flower pot)

Two adjectives of the same type

When there are two adjectives of the same type we put the most common one first.
Example: A nice comfortable chair.
Nice and comfortable are both adjectives of opinion and chair is the noun.
Nice is more used and therefore we put it before comfortable

Here are some examples of nouns with several adjectives:

  • She is a beautiful, tall, thin, 19-year–old, black, African lady.
  • It is a huge, old, square, brown, mahogany box.
  • I’m looking for an antique, round, brown, hard wooden, dinner table.
NOTE: the order of the adjectives may vary depending on the circumstances such as personal choice, colloquial language, local use, etc.

Exercises Position adjectives

If you want to practise the position of adjectives click on:

 Position adjectives

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