Did anyone order an adjective?


Adjectives are useful words. They make conversations colourful and interesting. Listen the next time you’re speaking with someone. They will use adjectives which fit into any of the six different categories below. They will also often use adjectives in the order that you see listed.

Descriptive adjectives

The order of adjectives

Look at these adjectives, we will use them to describe a table. Can you put them in the correct category? To help you, one has been done for you.

Descriptive adjectives                                         Descriptive adjectives linked

To see if you got them all right, click here.

So, our sentence to describe a table would be:

A delightful (1), huge (2 – size), oval (2 – shape), scruffy (2 – condition), antique (3), green (4), Japanese (5), wooden (6) table.

‘A delightful, huge, oval, scruffy, antique, green, Japanese, wooden table’.

As you can see, the order of adjectives is:

  1.  opinion (what do you think of it – is it beautiful, ugly, ridiculous?)
  2. appearance – size, shape, condition (condition means the state of something – how it looks or feels. Is it neat, scruffy, rough, smooth?)
  3. age (how old is it – ancient, brand new?)
  4. colour (what colour is it – green, gold, blue?)
  5. origin (where is it from – an area, a town, a country?)
  6. material (what is it made of – is it wooden, plastic, metallic?)

Don’t get carried away…

Remember, don’t use all six types of adjectives in one sentence. The most adjectives we use in a sentence is three, usually we only use one or two. However, they should be in the correct order.

Try this exercise

Try putting these words into a sentence:

    • black, German, brand new (car)
    • wooden, beautiful (chair)
    • purple, hideous, plastic (doll)
    • Venetian, ancient, glass (vase)
    • multicoloured, long, wonderful (scarf)

Here’s an example to help you:

    • gold, jewel encrusted, modern (tiara)

The correct adjective order is:

‘A jewel encrusted, modern, gold tiara’.

If you want to, you can add to the sentence to make it more interesting. For example:

‘My niece went to a ball and wore a jewel encrusted, modern, gold tiara. She looked beautiful’.

Email your sentences to me and I’ll mark them for you. I’ll look forward to reading them!

For more practice, read this gardening article from the wonderful Monty Don! How many adjectives can you spot?

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