Adjective Order

When we use more than one adjective, we put them in a certain order. In other words, we say, “The big, red balloon.” We do not say, “The red, big balloon,” because size comes before color.

The order we use is first determiner, then opinion, then size . . .

  • determiner (a/an, the, her/his, that, some
  • opinion (beautiful, expensive, delicious)
  • size (big, small, huge)
  • shape (round, square, tall)
  • age (old, young)
  • color (brown, white)
  • origin (American, Chinese, Japanese)
  • material (wooden, cotton, plastic)
  • qualifier (sleeping bag, rocking chair).

Example: We bought a beautiful, round, wooden table.

Although this is the order we usually use, there are exceptions to the rule, and in some cases adjectives may be placed in more than one category.

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.