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Adjective Word Order

Different types of words occupy different positions in a sentence. Nouns generally occur at the start of a sentence, and adjectives mostly precede a noun. Here are a few examples of adjectives that can come either before or after a noun. Note that their positioning affects the meaning of the sentence:

Let’s now see the rules governing adjective order in English. If more than one adjective is used in a sentence, they tend to occur in a specific order. In English, a noun typically has one or two adjectives. If multiple adjectives are used, then the table given below can help create an acceptable adjective order.

Order of (Descriptive) Adjectives:

First: Determiner (this, that, these, those, my, mine, your, yours, him, his, hers they, their, some, our, several,…) or the article (a, an, the)

Second: Opinion, quality or observation (lovely, useful, cute, difficult, comfortable)

Third: Physical description of size (big, little, tall, short)

Fourth: Age (old, new, young, adolescent)

Fifth: Shape (circular, irregular, triangular)

Sixth: Color (red, green, yellow)

Seventh: Origin or maker’s source (English, Mexican, Japanese)

Eighth: Materials (cotton, metal, plastic)

Ninth: Qualifier (a noun used as an adjective to modify a noun, e.g., campus activities, rocking chair, business suit)


Look up good examples of research articles in your field, and using the table given above, notice how adjectives has been ordered. Adhering to the proper order of adjectives makes for clear writing and gets your message across to your reader quickly.

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