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WHICH ADJECTIVE COMES FIRST?

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

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years. He has experience teaching professional and academic English. He earned his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.

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