The Correct Order of Adjectives in English

An adjective is a word that describes something (a noun), it gives us more information about a person or thing.

Adjectives sometimes appear after the verb To Be.
The order is To Be + Adjective.

  • He is tall.
  • She is happy.

Adjectives sometimes appear before a noun.
The order is Adjective + Noun.

  • Slow car
  • Brown hat

📌BUT… Sometimes you want to use more than one adjective to describe something (or someone). What happens if a hat is both brown AND old? Do we say – an old brown hat OR a brown old hat? An old brown hat is correct because a certain order for adjectives is expected. A brown old hat sounds incorrect or not natural.

‼️When we use more than one adjective to describe a noun, the adjectives must appear in a special order to express the meaning that we want to express, as follows: ➡️ ➡️ determiner, opinion, size, age, color, shape, origin, material and purpose. So this is the general order of adjectives in English and you can remember them by the mnemonic OSASCOMP.

For example:

It was made of a (1)strange,(5)green,(7)metallic material.

It’s a (2)long,(2)narrow,(7)plastic brush.

Panettone is a (4)round,(6)Italian Christmas cake.

❗️Also, when there are two or more adjectives that are from the same group, the word and is placed between the two adjectives: For example: The library has old and new books.

IMPORTANT: The order of adjectives before a noun is NOT 100% FIXED. This chart is only a guide and is the order that is preferred. You may see or hear slight variations of the order of adjectives in real life though what appears in the chart is the order that is expected the most.

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