VOCABULARY

Order of Adjectives

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Adjectives are words that give us details or more information about a noun or a noun phrase. We use them to give an opinion, describe or give information about the size, age, shape, colour, pattern, nationality or origin and material of nouns.

 Vocabulary Practice

Level of difficulty: â­

In English grammar, there is a common order of adjectives that is often used when multiple adjectives are used to describe a noun. The order is generally:

  1. Determiner (such as “a,” “an,” “the”, “some”)
  2. Opinion or observation (such as “beautiful,” “ugly,” “delicious,” “interesting”)
  3. Size (such as “big,” “small,” “tiny,” “large”)
  4. Shape (such as “round,” “square,” “oval,” “rectangular”)
  5. Age (such as “old,” “young,” “ancient,” “new”)
  6. Colour (such as “red,” “blue,” “green,” “yellow”)
  7. Pattern (such as “striped”, “plaid”, “plain:, “dotted”)
  8. Origin or nationality (such as “Italian,” “Mexican,” “Chinese,” “European”)
  9. Material or composition (such as “wooden,” “metallic,” “plastic,” “glass”)
  10. Purpose/ used for or qualifier (such as “wedding,” “working,” “flying,” “exercise”)

For example, in the phrase “a beautiful small round wooden jewelry box,” the word order of adjectives follows this pattern: determiner (“a”), opinion (“beautiful”), size (“small”), shape (“round”), material (“wooden”), purpose/used for (“jewelry”), and box is the noun

 

determineropinionsizeageshapecolourpatternoriginmaterialused fornoun
an
some
a
expensive
luxurious
beautiful
big

small
new

old
long

round
purple

red
striped

French
German
silk

wooden
winter
sports
jewelry
scarf
car
s
box

When there are two or more adjectives of the same category (such as two colours or two sizes), they can be arranged in any order without affecting the meaning of the sentence.

For example, “She wore a long red scarf” and “She wore a red long scarf” mean the same thing.

However, if the adjectives are of different categories, then the order should be maintained according to the standard order of adjectives.

For example, “He bought a small old French car” follows the standard order of adjectives: size (small), age (old), origin (French), and noun (car).

Level of difficulty:⭐⭐

Word Order of Adjectives Exercise

Instructions: This exercise contains ten multiple-choice questions about the order of adjectives. Each question consists of a set of adjectives and three different order options. Choose the option that correctly orders the adjectives based on the standard order of adjectives.

1. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a dress?

a) black, long, silk

b) silk, long, black

c) long, black, silk

2. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a cup?

a) glass, small, white

b) white, small, glass

c) small, white, glass

3. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a car?

a) old, red, Italian

b) Italian, red, old

c) red, old, Italian

4. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a cake?

a) chocolate, small, round

b) round, small, chocolate

c) small, round, chocolate

5. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a house?

a) modern, big, wooden

b) wooden, modern, big

c) big, wooden, modern

6. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a book?

a) new, thick, hardcover

b) hardcover, thick, new

c) thick, new, hardcover

7. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a dog?

a) small, fluffy, white

b) small, white, fluffy

c) fluffy, small, white

8. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a painting?

a) famous, Italian, large

b) large, famous, beautiful

c) beautiful, modern, large

9. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a pair of shoes?

a) black, leather, comfortable

b) comfortable, black, leather

c) black, comfortable, leather

10. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a necklace?

a) white, gold, delicate

b) delicate, white, gold

c) gold, delicate, white

ANSWERS

  1. c, 2. c, 3. a, 4. c, 5. a, 6. a, 7. b, 8. c, 9.b, 10. b
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