Adjectives: Word order

Adjectives usually appear before the noun or pronoun that they are modifying. When this is the case there is an order in which the different categories of adjective are placed in the sentence. This word order is as follows:

  • opinion
  • size
  • age
  • shape
  • colour
  • origin
  • material
  • purpose

Below are some examples of this word order.

opinionsizeageshapecolouroriginmaterialpurpose(noun)
magnificent old  Arabian  …statue
 long    bronze …sword
beautiful antique  Egyptian  …plate
 huge    silverhunting…gun
delicious vintage  Spanish  …wine
stunningtall slim Brazilian  …model
 large  black  guard…dog

If an adjective is modifying an indefinite pronoun such as somebody, someone, anything etc. the adjective follows the pronoun:

“He didn’t meet anyone interesting at the conference.”

Exercise: Put the adjectives in the correct order in the following sentences

  • Anna bought a  [ golden – small ] picture frame from the antique stall in the market.
  • Mark saw a [ Italian – famous ] footballer when he visited Rome.
  • Have you seen my [ brown -walking ] boots? I can’t find them anywhere.
  • I have ordered a [ large – Persian – red ] rug which will arrive next week.

Post your answers in the comments below. Alternatively, you can book a one-to-one lesson with an Intrepid English teacher today to discuss this topic in more detail.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us here or email us at Intrepid English.

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This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher and Founder, Lorraine, and recorded by Tom.

You can find out more about them by visiting their Intrepid English Teacher profile pages.

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Responses

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  1. Dear all
    I hope I got it:

    Anna bought a small golden picture frame from the antique stall in the market.
    Mark saw a famous Italian footballer when he visited Rome.
    Have you seen my brown walking boots? I can’t find them anywhere.
    I have ordered a large red Persian rug which will arrive next week.

    Wish you a great evening.
    Kind regards from Interlaken to GB, Richard

    1. Hi Richard,
      Not only have you answered all of the answers correctly, but you did it in record time. Double congratulations!
      Maybe you can help me to think of a good mnemonic to help us remember the order of the adjectives:
      Opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose (O. S. A. S. C. O. M. P) …
      … Occasionally Sally And Sam Cook Outrageous Mashed Potatoes… ????
      Can you think of one?