What is the Order of Adjectives in English Grammar – Definition, Examples, Chart

Let’s learn the Order of Adjectives!

What is the Order of Adjectives in English Grammar – Definition, Examples, Chart

Do you have any idea about the order of adjectives? Adjectives help us describe and qualify a noun. But in the English language, they have a specific order according to which you need to use them.

In this post, we are going to talk about the order of adjectives along with definition, examples, chart in the English language.

What is Order of Adjectives with Examples

Order of Adjectives Basics 

Playing the guitar has always been my passion. As a matter of fact, I always carry a guitar with me wherever I go. But last week, I went to the countryside with my family for a weekend getaway. The car was packed, and it was difficult to take my guitar along. I must find something else to make it work.

Luckily, I found something online that just might be the perfect solution to my problem. A new folding guitar, also known as the traveling guitar, is now available in the market, and it has quickly become the favorite of many traveling musicians.

  • But why can’t I say, a new guitar folding?
  • Doesn’t make much sense.
  • Isn’t it?

This is exactly why you need to learn the order of adjectives in English grammar.

  • So what’s the theory behind this sentence?

Well, “New” and “Folding” are two cumulative adjectives here.

So, they must follow a certain order to make sense.

Basically, when we use two adjectives consecutively, they are called either,

  • cumulative adjectives or
  • coordinative adjectives.

But what is the difference between cumulative adjectives and coordinative adjectives?

Cumulative adjectives: Well, there are certain adjectives that you need to use in a certain order to make sense; these are called cumulative adjectives.

Coordinative adjectives: On the other hand, you have adjectives that do not necessarily follow any order to make sense; they are called coordinative adjectives.

Order of Adjectives Examples

When I will say,

  • The movie depicted a breaking heart story.

It will sound bad and will hardly make any sense for a native. Thus, I need to say,

  • “…..a heartbreaking story.

But when you say, “Oh, look at the weather, it hot, dry and humid.” Here, all of them are coordinative adjectives. They do sound nice when written in this order, but you can change the order as well; it will hardly change the sense.

So, in this post, we are going to look at the order of cumulative adjectives, and the order they follow is;

  • quantity,
  • opinion,
  • size,
  • age,
  • color,
  • shape,
  • origin,
  • material, and
  • purpose.

Variations in Order of Adjectives

Let’s look at these variations one by one.

Order of Adjectives: Quantity

By the name, I think you can guess that these adjectives refer to the number of things. They can denote the amount or even numbers of something.

Let’s look at a few examples of this kind:

  • I would like two large glasses of Cold drinks, Please.

Here, “two” has been written before “large” because that’s the order to make sense. “Two” can never come after “large”.

Always number first, then the amount.

Another such example can be,

  • Give me four nice round watermelons.

Order of Adjectives: Opinion

The adjectives of opinion can express our feelings that we have for something.

Some of the most commonly used adjectives of opinion are,

  • happy,
  • sad,
  • clumsy,
  • tasty,
  • strong,
  • beautiful,
  • weak,
  • ugly, etc.

For example, we can say:

  • The building has a strong structure that keeps it standing through ages.
  • Let me buy two yummy extra-chocolaty ice-creams for you.

As you can see, the adjective of opinion sits in the middle of two adjectives in the second sentence to make the perfect sense. In the first sentence, however, it is just indicating the structure.

Order of Adjectives: Size

The adjectives of size include the various descriptive words that indicate the size of something. Some of the most frequently used ones are,

  • little,
  • small,
  • big,
  • large,
  • gigantic,
  • enormous, etc.

Lets, see a sentence example,

  • Why do you always order two extra-large glasses of chocolate Milk?

In this sentence, the adjective of size is adhering to the order.

Order of Adjectives: Age

The age objectives always refer to the age of someone or something.

It uses words like,

  • old,
  • young,
  • middle-aged,
  • adolescent, etc.

Usually, the native speakers hardly use three adjectives in a row to describe a noun. But when it comes to using the “Age” adjectives, some prefer to put them before the adjective of opinion.

While some, following the traditional method; put the adjective of age after the adjective of opinion.

For example,

  • The big old mansion stands as a haunted place just outside the town.

Order of Adjectives: Shape

The adjective of shape indicates the shape or appearance of something.

Here, we often use words like,

  • fat,
  • round,
  • oval,
  • long,
  • short,
  • thin, etc.

Some examples of this kind can be:

  • The old round wall clock has been hanging there for ages.

Order of Adjectives: Color

Next up, we have color, and we usually use these adjectives to qualify some objects or even animals.

  • The small but beautiful red bird flew through my attic and sat near the writing desk.

Order of Adjectives: Origin

When it comes to origin, we usually refer to ethnicity or religious origin. You may often use words like,

  • Hindu,
  • Muslim,
  • Christian, etc.

These are all adjectives of origin.

An example for this kind can be:

  • In my friend’s place, we found many ancient Hindu scriptures and also some Buddhist texts.

Order of Adjectives: Material

By material, we intend to give more details about the noun we are describing. This is specifically appropriate if you are describing an item.

Some of the frequently used words can be,

  • metal,
  • silk,
  • cotton,
  • paper, etc.

Some examples can be;

  • We have found an old silk scarf from our grandmother’s closet.
  • They have a new cotton shirt.

Order of Adjectives: Purpose

Lastly, we have a purpose, which indicates the manner of use or functionality of a certain thing.

Here, we have adjectives like,

  • cascading,
  • folding,
  • bending, etc.

A perfect example of this kind can be:

  • I have bought a new folding guitar that I can carry along anywhere I want.

In this sentence, as you can see, we have the functionality of the guitar indicated by the adjective “Folding”.

  • The cascading river makes a wonderful scene to behold.

Order of Adjectives Chart

Let’s see a chart for the order of adjectives, for reference,

Order of Adjectives Description Examples
1 Quantity Two, five, nine, ten, first, second, third, last
2 Opinion happy, sad, clumsy, tasty, strong, beautiful, weak, ugly,
3 Size little, small, big, large, gigantic, enormous,
4 Age old, young, middle-aged, adolescent,
5 Shape fat, round, oval, long, short, thin,
6 Color Blue, red, white
7 Origin Hindu, Muslim, Christian,
8 Material metal, silk, plastic, cotton, paper,
9 Purpose cascading, running, folding, bending, swimming,


So, there you have it, all the details you need to know about the order of adjectives in English grammar. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to mention them in the comments section.

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