Adjectives in English. Order of adjectives

Let's start by recalling or figuring out what an adjective is. It is the part of speech that is used to describe people or objects (any nouns). Adjectives do NOT have plural forms. So even if we need to describe many objects, the adjective will always have one form:

a big house - big houses

In the sentence, adjectives take the place BEFORE the described word (noun):

an interesting book

a green dress

BUT AFTER such verbs as be, look, smell, sound, feel, seem, appear, become, get, stay:

It smells tasty.

They seem interested.

You are beautiful.


In addition to simple adjectives, which consist of only one word, in English there are compound adjectives. Such words usually consist of two parts and they are formed in this way:

1. With the help of the present participle.

never-ending story

2. Using the past participle.

broken-down washing machine

3. Using a combination of ordinal numbers and nouns.

two-hour lecture (a noun in this combination will always be in the singular)

4. Nouns facing other nouns (compound nouns) can also be used as adjectives.

Car park

Credit card

Dog collar


The following adjectives have different meanings:

1. Gold - made of gold.

She bought a gold ring she was dreaming about.


Golden - golden color.

I am not sure I like this golden bag. I prefer not so bright one.

2. Silk - made of silk.

Do you like this silk skirt?


Silky - soft to the touch, like silk.

Have you changed your shampoo? Your hair feels silky!


3. Stone - made of stone.

I want several stone paths in my new garden.


Stonyheavy look.

Don’t give me this stony look.


In all the examples that we have examined earlier, nouns were described by one adjective. But what if we need to give a more detailed description? To do this, in English there is a certain order of adjectives in the sentence. It looks like this:




However, we usually do not use such long descriptions. Most often, a noun is described by 1-3 adjectives.


Some adjectives do NOT require a description object. These include: afraid, alike, alive, alone, ashamed, asleep, awake, content, glad, ill, pleased.

Our new colleague is ill today.

Are you glad?


Other adjectives are ALWAYS accompanied by a noun: chief, elder, former, indoor, inner, main, only, outdoor, outer, principal, upper.

This is our only problem for today.


Some adjectives can play the role of nouns by adding the article the: elderly, middle-aged, young, blind, dead, deaf, disabled, living, sick, homeless, hungry, poor, rich, strong, unemployed, weak.

There is a wonderful school for the blind in Europe. (Meaning generally for the blind)

The city government have opened a new school for the blind people in our district. (We describe a specific group of people with vision problems)



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