A2 · B1 · Grammar · Grammar activity

Word order for adjectives

ADJECTIVES THAT GIVE INFORMATION ABOUT A NOUN (NOUN MODIFIERS)

We can give information about something by using adjectives.

  • An Italian car.
  • Dark hair.

 These adjectives can  come before a noun although they can also come after a verb. Here we are going to see them in front of a noun. (predicative position). Look at the boxes and after do the grammar activity.

We can use a lot of adjectives but in the English language we usually have a pattern of preference for which adjectives come first.

  • A beautiful, red Italian car.
  • Long curly dark hair.

 … But which one comes first? There is a general rule according to the type of information the adjective is giving.

ARTICLE/QUANTIFIER/NUMBER SIZE SHAPE COLOUR NOUN
 – long curly dark hair
Two big yellow scarves

Or…

 

A/Q/N OPINION AGE SIZE SHAPE COLOUR ORIGIN MATERIAL NOUN
 – long curly dark hair
Two big yellow scarves
An ugly old square grey British concrete block of flats
A lovely new big round white Spanish wooden table

the more adjectives we add, the more complicated the things gets. We might have to give very long descriptions which would look something like the box above. Luckily, we don’t usually use this in speech because our interlocutor might start yawning.

 

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