Get ready for exams Level B1/B2
When more than one adjective comes before a noun, the adjectives are normally in a particular order. Adjectives which describe opinions or attitudes (e.g. amazing, beautiful, expensive) usually come first, before more neutral, factual ones (e.g. red, big, round). If we don’t want to emphasise any one of the adjectives, the most usual order of adjectives is:
- opinion (lovely, unusual, cheap)
- size (big, small, huge, tall)
- physical quality (thin, rough, untidy)
- shape (round, triangular, square, rectangular)
- age (young, old, ancient, new, youthful)
- color (blue, red, white)
- origin (French, Turkish, Chinese)
- material (metal, plastic, woolen, gold, cotton, leather)
- purpose (“Purpose adjectives” are almost like part of the noun. They describe what the object is used for: running shoes, a sleeping bag, a flower vase, a frying pan, a tennis racket)
There are other adjectives that don’t fall into the categories above. For these, the essential rule to remember is that opinion adjectives always come before fact adjectives (appearance and other “descriptive” adjectives):
- delicious (opinion) organic (fact) food
- crazy (opinion) religious (fact) people
- interesting (opinion) cultural (fact) traditions
- confusing (opinion) financial (fact) data
To learn the order of adjectives do these exercises.
Exercise 1. Describe the object as in the example.
Example: a small / nice / plastic / green / car – There is a nice small green plastic car.
- a leather / cheap / old / black / bag
- a(n) English / old / interesting / thick / book
- a cotton / smart / new / French / red / blouse
- a gold / round / beautiful / small / ring
- a new / plastic / rectangular / big / frame
Exercise 2. Put the adjectives into the correct order.
- 1. a(n) woolen / blue / old / soft / sweater
- a(n) big / Italian / modern / red / new / car
- a(n) silver / old / long / beautiful / chain
- a(n) stone / French / small / old / building
- a(n) oval / nice / Swiss / silver / old / clock
- a(n) huge / leather / old / comfortable / brown / armchair
- a(n) gold / round / German / tiny / ancient / coin
- a(n) silk / red / long / beautiful / Italian / scarf