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Order of adjectives

How to order adjectives in English

In many languages, adjectives denoting attributes usually occur in a specific order. Generally, the adjective order in English is:

  1. Quantity or number
  2. Quality or opinion
  3. Size
  4. Age
  5. Shape
  6. Color
  7. Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
  8. Purpose or qualifier

For example:

  1. I love that really big old green antique car that always parked at the end of the street.
  2. My sister adopted a beautiful big white bulldog.

When there are two or more adjectives that are from the same group, the word and is placed between the two adjectives:

  1. The house is green and red.
  2. The library has old and new books.

When there are three or more adjectives from the same adjective group, place a comma between each of the coordinate adjectives:

  1. We live in the big green, white and red house at the end of the street.
  2. My friend lost a red, black and white watch.

A comma is not placed between an adjective and the noun.


Order of adjectives – examples

Determiner Quantity or number Quality or opinion Size Age Shape Color Proper adjective Purpose or qualifier Noun
A beautiful old Italian sports car
The three beautiful little gold plates
An amazing heart-shaped red and white sofa

More examples:

  1. I love that really old big green antique car that always parked at the end of the street. [quality - age - size - color - proper adjective]
  2. My sister has a big, beautiful, tan and white, bulldog. [size - quality - color - color]
  3. A wonderful old Italian clock. [opinion - age - origin]
  4. A big square blue box. [dimension - shape - color]
  5. A disgusting pink plastic ornament. [opinion - color - material]
  6. Some slim new French trousers. [dimension - age - origin]
  7. A wonderful old Italian clock. [opinion - age - origin]
  8. I bought a pair of black leather shoes. [color - material]

Order of adjectives exercises

1. Choose the best answer for each sentence.

  1. The house is __________________.
    • large and white
    • white and large
    • large white
  2. They live in a __________________ house.
    • large and white
    • white and large
    • large white

Answers: A – large and white B – large white

2. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. We took a ride on a blue, old Chinese bus.
  2. We took a ride on a Chinese, old, blue bus.
  3. We took a ride on an old, blue Chinese bus.

Answer: C

3. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. I’d like three good reasons why you don’t like spinach.
  2. I’d like a good three reasons why you don’t like spinach.
  3. I’d like good reasons three why you don’t like spinach.

Answer: A

4. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. I like that really big red old antique tractor in the museum.
  2. I like that really big old red antique tractor in the museum.
  3. I like that old, red, really big antique tractor in the museum.

Answer: B

5. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. My brother rode a beautiful big black Friesian horse in the parade.
  2. My brother rode a beautiful Friesian big black horse in the parade.
  3. My brother rode a big, black, beautiful Friesian horse in the parade.

Answer: A

6. For each of the following sentences, choose the correct order of adjectives to fill in the blank.

  1. My grandmother lives in the ________________________ house on the corner
    • little blue, green and white
    • little blue and green and white
    • little, blue, green, and white
  2. The store carries an assortment of _____________________ objects.
    • interesting new, old and antique
    • new, old, interesting and antique
    • interesting, old and new and antique
  3. We went for a two-week cruise on a __________________________ ocean liner.
    • incredible brand-new, huge Italian
    • incredible, huge, brand-new Italian
    • Italian incredible, brand-new, huge

Answers: A – little blue, green and white B – interesting new, old and antique C – incredible, huge, brand-new Italian

7. For each of the following sentences, choose the correct order of adjectives to fill in the blank.

  1. I bought a pair of _________________ boots.
    • new, nice, red rain
    • nice new red rain
    • red nice new rain
  2. My dad was thrilled with his gift of ______________________ bowties for his clown act.
    • three squirting new nice big polka-dotted
    • three polka-dotted nice new squirting
    • three nice big new polka-dotted squirting
  3. Please put the marbles into that ______________________ box.
    • round little old red
    • little old round red
    • little old red round

Answers: A – nice new red rain B – three nice big new polka-dotted squirting C – little old round red

8. For each of the following sentences, choose the correct order of adjectives to fill in the blank:

  1. I was surprised to receive a __________________ puppy for my birthday.
    • little, cute, eight-week-old golden retriever
    • cute eight-week-old little golden retriever
    • cute little eight-week-old golden retriever
  2. Our work uniform consists of black pants, black shoes, and a ________________ shirt.
    • yellow baggy big polo
    • big baggy yellow polo
    • baggy yellow big polo
  3. I’ve been spending a lot of time in antique shops looking for the perfect _______________ clock.
    • little silver Italian cuckoo
    • little Italian silver cuckoo
    • silver little Italian cuckoo

Answers: A – cute little eight-week-old golden retriever B – big baggy yellow polo C – little silver Italian cuckoo

9. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. Our grandparents drive a motorhome with black and white stripes.
  2. Our grandparents drive a motorhome with black with white stripes.
  3. Our grandparents drive a motorhome with black, white stripes.

Answer: A

10. Which sentence uses the correct order of adjectives?

  1. During my college years, I wore a red, white and black big hat to sporting events.
  2. During my college years, I wore a big red, white and black hat to sporting events.
  3. During my college years, I wore a big red white and black, hat to sporting events.

Answer: B

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