The Order of Adjectives in British English

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In British English, there exists a specific order in which adjectives are typically arranged when describing a noun. This order is not arbitrary but follows a logical sequence based on the type of adjective. Understanding this order can help learners of English construct sentences that sound natural and coherent. This blog post aims to delve into this order, explaining each category of adjectives and providing examples to illustrate their usage.

The Order of Adjectives in English

In British English, adjectives are generally placed in a specific order before a noun. The order is as follows: determiner, opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, and purpose. This order is not always rigidly followed, but it is a common guideline that helps sentences sound more natural.


The determiner is the first type of adjective in the order. It includes articles like “the,” “a,” and “an,” as well as possessives like “my,” “your,” and “their.” Determiners help to specify which particular noun is being referred to.


Opinion adjectives express a personal view or judgment. These adjectives come after determiners and include words like “beautiful,” “interesting,” “lovely,” and “nice.” They add subjective qualities to the noun.


Size adjectives describe the physical dimensions of the noun. Examples include “big,” “small,” “large,” and “tiny.” Size adjectives come after opinion adjectives in the order.


Age adjectives indicate how old something is. They follow size adjectives and include words like “old,” “new,” “young,” and “ancient.”


Shape adjectives describe the form of the noun. Examples include “round,” “square,” “rectangular,” and “oval.” Shape adjectives come after age adjectives.


Color adjectives describe the color of the noun. They follow shape adjectives and include words like “red,” “blue,” “green,” and “yellow.”


Origin adjectives indicate where something comes from. Examples include “French,” “American,” “Chinese,” and “Italian.” Origin adjectives come after color adjectives.


Material adjectives describe what something is made of. They follow origin adjectives and include words like “wooden,” “plastic,” “metal,” and “glass.”


Purpose adjectives describe the intended use of something. They come last in the order and include words like “sleeping” in “sleeping bag.”

Example Sentences for the Order of Adjectives in British English

  • A beautiful, small, old, round, red French wooden sleeping chair.
  • An interesting big new square blue Chinese plastic toy.
  • The intriguing large ancient oval red Chinese ceramic decorative vase sat proudly on the antique wooden living room table, adding a touch of elegance to the room.
  • A fascinating small new triangular blue modern British plastic gaming console was the center of attention at the electronic store, capturing the interest of many avid gamers.
  • She was delighted to receive a gorgeous medium-sized antique rectangular gold Victorian ornate dining table as a gift from her grandparents, which she placed gracefully in the dining room.

Roadmap to learn English grammar


Understanding the order of adjectives in British English can greatly enhance your ability to construct grammatically correct and natural-sounding sentences. By following this guideline, you can effectively describe objects in a clear and organized manner.

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