Are you struggling to describe nouns with multiple adjectives in English? It can be challenging to know the correct order of adjectives, especially if English is not your first language. However, mastering the order of adjectives is essential for effective communication and can greatly enhance your English language skills.
In our English spoken class online, we understand the importance of mastering the order of adjectives in English. In this post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to use multiple adjectives to describe nouns accurately.
|1||Quantity||six, some, a lot of|
|2||Opinion/Value||amazing, terrible, comfortable|
|3||Size||small, bulky, compact|
|4||Temperature||lukewarm, frozen, steaming|
|5||Age||young, vintage, old|
|6||Shape||rectangular, curved, jagged|
|7||Color||silver, red, green|
|8||Origin||British, Cuban, Japanese|
|9||Material||silk, plastic, glass|
|10||Purpose||running shoes, sleeping bag, coffee table|
Adjectives describing the quantity of the noun come first. These include numbers: one, 4.5, 100
Quantity can also be expressed through adjectives such as: many, several, few
If you’re only referring to one object, person or place with the noun, you can simply use these articles: a, an, the
Example: A mug
These adjectives communicate how the noun is viewed by yourself or others. These are subjective terms: beautiful, unusual, annoying, delicious
Example: A beautiful mug
Adjectives describing the size of the noun are placed next. This word tells the reader or listener how big or small the noun is. A variety of words can be used to explain this, including: large, huge, tiny, mini
Example: A beautiful large mug
One exception here that you may notice is the word “big,” which often comes before an opinion/value word. For example, “the big bad wolf” is a character in the story “The Three Little Pigs.”
The adjectives placed next in line give information about the temperature, if necessary: cold, cool, freezing, warm, hot
Example: A beautiful large warm mug
Age doesn’t have to be a number. Age can also be communicated with words that explain the time period or era the noun was created in or lived in. Adjectives used here could be: new, modern, antique, prehistoric
Example: A beautiful large warm modern mug
Next in line are the adjectives that describe the shape. Some of the words you could use to communicate the shape the noun looks like could be: angular, round, square
Example: A beautiful large warm modern round mug
Adjectives describing color are positioned next: brown, blue, silver
These words can also be used when describing the coloring of a person’s hair or an animal’s fur: brunette, blonde
Example: A beautiful large warm modern round black mug
Adjectives that describe where the noun came from tell the reader or listener about its origin. These adjectives could include: American, British, Dutch, Indian, Australian
Example: A beautiful large warm modern round black European mug
These adjectives simply indicate what the noun is made of. Adjectives here could be: wood, metal, paper, silk, rubber
Example: A beautiful large warm modern round black European stainless steel mug
The last adjective before the noun describes its purpose. This explains what the noun is used for: tennis ball (used for tennis), stirring spoon (used for stirring), diving pool (used for diving)
Example: A beautiful large warm modern round black European stainless steel travel mug
I know what you’re thinking. “A beautiful large warm modern round black European stainless steel travel mug” is a mouthful of a phrase!
That’s why it’s important not to use too many adjectives. Too many adjectives give off a very confusing message to readers and listeners.
Instead, focus on learning the position of each category so that when you do need one, you know exactly where to put it.
Look at this example: A magnificent huge newly-opened blue American water swimming pool
Not all of these adjectives are relevant. We know that swimming pools are made of water and they’re blue.
On the other hand, mugs can be made from a variety of materials and could be any color.
Using an adjective that describes the color of a coffee mug is giving the listener or reader information they don’t already have. This information is relevant. It’s needed to create a more detailed picture in their mind.
As a general rule, try to focus on only two, three or four adjectives that’ll add the most description to your sentence. Once you’ve selected these few adjectives, simply place them in the order stated above.
A portable new black laptop
A pair of cozy, warm, fur-lined slippers
Several old, thick hardcover books
Three disposable plastic pens
For a bit more guidance on the subject, it also helps to take a closer look at how native English speakers order their adjectives.
Read modern books and listen intently to movies, TV shows, and other English-language media, then try using descriptive phrases that you come across.
On The Language Learning School English program, you can see how native speakers naturally use multiple adjectives in real movie trailers, interviews, and other quick clips: They come with interactive subtitles that let you instantly check definitions of any words while watching, and you can practice those new terms in the post-video quizzes. You can also save new adjectives as custom flashcards and review them later.
When you use multiple adjectives from different categories, as we did above, they function as cumulative adjectives. You don’t need to put commas between cumulative adjectives.
However, if you used several adjectives from the same category, they’d be coordinate adjectives. You do need commas between coordinate adjectives, but their order doesn’t matter.
For example: The stupid, pointless, frustrating homework assignment
These are all opinion/value adjectives, so they need commas and they could be rearranged:
The frustrating, pointless, stupid homework assignment
Using Multiple Adjectives to Describe Nouns
When using multiple adjectives to describe a noun, it is essential to follow the order of adjectives in English. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, when using two adjectives that belong to the same category, such as size, you can switch their order.
For example: instead of saying “I have a small blue car,” you can say “I have a blue small car.” Both are correct and make sense.
It is also important to note that not all adjectives need to be used when describing a noun. You should choose the adjectives that best describe the noun and use them in the correct order.
At our English spoken class online, we provide personalized instruction to help you master the order of adjectives in English. Our courses use interactive tools like whiteboards, videos, and games to make learning fun and engaging. Our virtual classroom simulates a real classroom environment, ensuring that you receive the best possible learning experience.
Mastering the order of adjectives in English is essential for effective communication and can greatly enhance your English language skills. At our English spoken class online, we provide comprehensive courses that teach you how to use multiple adjectives to describe nouns accurately. By joining our courses, you will gain the confidence to speak English fluently and effectively, and you will develop your listening, reading, and writing skills.
Sign up for our English spoken class online today and start mastering the order of adjectives in English!
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