Order of Adjectives in English: Useful Rules and Examples

What is the correct order of adjectives? When you are going to use a number of different adjectives to describe a noun it is important to be able to put the adjectives in the correct order. The reason for this is that when placed in the wrong order, numerous adjectives can sound misplaced, uneven and somewhat cacophonous.

In this section, we will be looking at the best way to order your adjectives which will not only allow your sentences to flow much more easily but will also give you the impression of being a native English speaker.

Order of Adjectives

In English, it is common to use more than one adjective before a noun. For example, “It is a beautiful long new dress.” or “She has bought a square white Japanese cake.” When you use more than one adjective, you have to put them in the right order – order of adjectives.

Learn how to put adjectives in the right order with useful grammar rules and examples.

In general, the adjective order in English is:


Words that work as articles and other limiters including numbers.

Example: a, an, the, both, either, some, many, my, your, our, their, his, her, five, each, every, this, that…



In general, an opinion adjective explains what you think about something (other people may not agree with you).

Example: good, bad, great, terrible, pretty, lovely, silly, beautiful, horrible, difficult, comfortable/uncomfortable, ugly, awful, strange, delicious, disgusting, tasty, nasty, important, excellent, wonderful, brilliant, funny, interesting, boring.

Size and Shape

Adjectives that describe a factual or objective quality of the noun.

  • A size adjective, of course, tells you how big or small something is.

Example: huge, big, large, tiny, enormous, little, tall, long, gigantic, small, short, minuscule. 

  • A shape adjective describes the shape of something.

Example: triangular, square, round, flat, rectangular.


An age adjective (adjective denoting age) tells you how young or old something or someone is.

Example: young, old, new, ancient, six-year-old, antique, youthful, mature, modern, old-fashioned, recent…


A color adjective (adjective denoting color), of course, describes the color of something.

Example: red, black, pale, bright, faded, shining, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, pink, aquamarine…


Denominal adjectives denoting source of noun.

An origin adjective describes where something comes from.

Example: French, American, Canadian, Mexican, Greek, Swiss, Spanish, Victorian, Martian…


Denominal adjectives denoting what something is made of.

Example: woollen, wooden, silk, metal, paper, gold, silver, copper, cotton, leather, polyester, nylon, stone, diamond, plastic…



Final limiter, often regarded as part of the noun.

A purpose adjective describes what something is used for. These adjectives often end with “-ing”.

Example: writing (as in “writing paper”), sleeping (as in “sleeping bag”), roasting (as in “roasting tin”), running (as in “running shoes”).

Order of Adjectives | Images

Order of Adjectives Pin

Order of Adjectives in English | Grammar Rules and ExamplesPin

To summarize, in English, adjectives pertaining to size precede adjectives pertaining to age (“little old“, not “old little“), which in turn generally precede adjectives pertaining to color (“old white“, not “white old“). So, we would say “A (determiner) beautiful (opinion) old (age) Indian (origin) lamp.

Adjective Order | Examples

Order of Adjectives in English: Useful Rules and Examples 2Pin

Adjective Order Video

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Arfeen Addahia
Arfeen Addahia
4 years ago


3 years ago

Good stuff for English learners

2 years ago

I like your web site, because as we can see, It’s very interesting for English learners around the world.
Thanks a lot!

2 years ago

“This round new kitchen table” sounds really awkward to me and I would never say something like that. The supposed rule of putting shape before age seems wrong to me….
For example, if I said to you, “Try one of these new, heart-shaped candies.” That sounds much more natural than saying, “Try one of these heart-shaped new candies.” in my opinion

2 years ago
Reply to  Art

I think also “age” can have different implications depending on position.

“The ugly new chair.” States that the chair is new and I think it’s ugly.

“The new ugly chair.” States that there are 2 ugly chairs and I’m referring to the new one.

9 months ago
Reply to  Al

Despite all those awkward perspectives, when it comes to exams, how wouldbthey mark it?

9 months ago

(Copying my answer from below so that people will see the reply.)

Probably Size, Age, Shape. Unfortunately, it’s a rule most English speakers know intuitively, and just know what “sounds right”. While there are examples above where TESL’s order *could* be correct, it will Always “sound” correct as Size, Age, Shape.

Chelmsford Bird
Chelmsford Bird
1 year ago

Wow good learning

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