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Ordering multiple adjectives correctly

You can have more than one adjective describing the same noun, but, when you do, it’s important to write them in the appropriate order. Like for adverbs, there’s a convention about what order you should write adjectives in. If you don’t follow, a sentence often sounds quite strange. The order is:

  • Determiners such as articles and quantifiers. For instance, ‘the’, ‘this’, ‘several’.

  • Postdeterminers that are subjective (meaning open to opinion) observations about the noun; for instance, words like ‘horrible’, ‘engaging’, ‘reasonable’.

  • Adjectives that describe the shape or size of something; for instance, ‘round’, ‘large’, ‘small’, ‘sharp’.

  • Words that talk about how old the noun is - that indicate its age - such as ‘ancient’, ‘new’, ‘modern’.

  • The colour of the noun, such as ‘purple’, ‘pink’, ‘red’, ‘blue’.

  • Adjectives that tell you about where the noun came from; for example, a country like ‘Australian’, ‘British’, or a region like ‘subterranean’, ‘antipodean’.

  • Words saying the material the noun is made from, such as ‘ceramic’, ‘wooden’, ‘foam’.

So to illustrate how to get this order right, here’s a very unlikely sentence:

Ordering multiple adjectives correctly