building blocksAdjective Order


In English, it is common to use more than one adjective before a noun — for example, “He's a silly young fool,” or “She's a smart energetic woman.” When you use more than one adjective, you have to put them in the right order, according to type. This page will explain the different types of adjectives and the correct order for them.

1. The basic types of adjectives

Opinion An opinion adjective explains what you think about something (other people may not agree with you).
For example: silly, beautiful, horrible, difficult
Size A size adjective, of course, tells you how big or small something is.
For example: large, tiny, enormous, little
Age An age adjective tells you how young or old something or someone is.
For example: ancient, new, young, old
Shape A shape adjective describes the shape of something.
For example: square, round, flat, rectangular
Colour A colour adjective, of course, describes the colour of something.
For example: blue, pink, reddish, grey
Origin An origin adjective describes where something comes from.
For example: French, lunar, American, eastern, Greek
Material A material adjective describes what something is made from.
For example: wooden, metal, cotton, paper
Purpose A purpose adjective describes what something is used for. These adjectives often end with “-ing”.
For example: sleeping (as in “sleeping bag”), roasting (as in “roasting tin”)

2. Some examples of adjective order

  Opinion Size Age Shape Colour Origin Material Purpose  
a silly young English man
a huge round metal bowl
a small red sleeping bag

When you are sure that you understand the lesson, you can continue with the exercises.