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Adjective Order guidelines and examples

Adjective Order guidelines and examples

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05/23/2023

Adjective order refers to the specific order in which multiple adjectives should be placed before a noun. Adjectives are usually arranged in a particular sequence to ensure clarity and naturalness in English sentences.

While there can be exceptions and variations based on the context, here are some guidelines for adjective order:

  1. Opinion: Adjectives expressing opinions or subjective judgments come first.

    • Example:
      • "a beautiful painting,"
      • "an interesting book"
  2. Size and Shape: Adjectives describing size or shape follow opinions.

    • Example:
      • "a small table,"
      • "a round ball"
  3. Age: Adjectives denoting age come after size and shape.

    • Example:
      • "an old house,"
      • "a young child"
  4. Color: Adjectives indicating color follow age.

    • Example:
      • "a red car,"
      • "a blue sky"
  5. Origin: Adjectives denoting origin or nationality come after color.

    • Example:
      • "a French restaurant,"
      • "an Italian artist"
  6. Material: Adjectives describing the material of an object follow origin.

    • Example:
      • "a wooden chair,"
      • "a metal spoon"
  7. Purpose: Adjectives expressing the purpose or function of an object come last.

    • Example:
      • "a dining table,"
      • "a writing desk"

 

It's important to note that not all sentences will contain adjectives from each category, and the specific order may vary based on the context or emphasis. Additionally, articles and other determiners (e.g., a, an, the) may also precede the adjectives.

Here is an example sentence incorporating multiple adjectives in the correct order:

  • "I bought a beautiful small round Italian ceramic vase."
  • "He is a tall, handsome, and intelligent man."
  • "She wore a long, flowing, elegant silk gown."
  • "We had a delicious, homemade, hot apple pie."
  • "They live in a cozy, quaint, seaside cottage."
  • "I bought a small, rectangular, wooden coffee table."
  • "He is an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated teacher."
  • "She received a stunning, expensive, diamond necklace."
  • "They admired the vibrant, colorful, blooming flowers in the garden."
  • "The children played with the big, fluffy, playful Labrador retriever."
  • "We hiked through a dense, ancient, moss-covered forest."

 

By following the general guidelines for adjective order, you can ensure that your descriptions are clear, coherent, and sound natural to native English speakers.

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