English Grammar Adjective Order

Adjectives can be used to describe lots of things, from physical size, age, shape, colour, material, to more abstract things like opinion, origin and purpose. We can use adjectives together to give a detailed description of something. Adjectives that express opinions usually come before all others, but it can sometimes depend on what exactly you want to emphasise.

For example:

"That nice, big, blue bag." (You like the bag.)
"That big, nice, blue bag." (You like the colour.)

When we group adjectives together there is a general rule for the position of each type adjective, these are:-

Position 1st* 2nd* 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th

Opinion Size Age Shape Colour Material Origin Purpose

Nice Small Old Square Black Plastic British Racing

Ugly Big New Circular Blue Cotton American Running

This is just a guide as you wouldn't normally see so many adjectives in one description.

For example:

  • "She had a big, ugly, old, baggy, blue, cotton, British, knitting bag." Is grammatically correct but a bit too long-winded.

* You might swap opinion and fact adjectives depending on what you wish to emphasise:-

For example:

  • "She had a long, ugly nose." emphasising the length of her nose.
  • "He was a silly, little man." emphasising that the man was silly.
A list of common adjectives.
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