Adjectives

The Royal Order of Adjectives

Determiner Observation Physical Description Origin Material Qualifier Noun*
size : shape : age : color
a beautiful old (ag) Italian driving car
an expensive antique (ag) silver mirror
four gorgeous long-stemmed (sh) red (co) silk roses
her short (si) black (co) hair
our big (si) old (ag) English sheepdog
those square (sh) wooden hat boxes
that dilapidated little (si) hunting cabin
several enormous (si) young (ag) American basketball players
some delicious Thai food

Brief Explanation

The English language has structure, especially with adjectives. Consider, though, what Mark Twain said about adjectives:

As to the Adjective: When in doubt, strike it out. —Pudd’nhead Wilson (Mark Twain)

What Twain is saying is that we can overuse adjectives (though he was also a proponent for rarely using adjectives).


Additional Resources

Purdue Owl’s page on Adjectives and Adverbs


* Notice that this final column is the noun column and always (always) exists to the right of the adjectives.

adjectives are always placed to the left of the noun. Whereas adverbs can be placed on either the left or the right. Also see, adverbs.