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Order of Adjectives of Quality


Order of Adjectives of Quality

Order of Adjectives of Quality

Have you ever wondered why some people effortlessly arrange adjectives in a certain order while describing something? It's not just a matter of random choice; there's actually a logical pattern to it. Understanding the order of adjectives will help you express yourself more effectively and create vivid descriptions. Let's dive into the world of adjective order and uncover the secrets behind it.

Order of Adjectives: Breaking It Down

When you have multiple adjectives preceding a noun, there's a typical order that works best in English. Here's the general sequence:

Opinion: Adjectives expressing opinion or evaluation come first. They reflect subjective judgments and personal perspectives. For example, "beautiful," "nice," "lovely," or "pretty" fall into this category.

Size: Next up are adjectives of size. We usually mention the size of an object after expressing our opinion about it. So, if you're describing the size, you'd use adjectives like "big," "small," "long," or "short."

Physical Quality: Adjectives related to the physical qualities of an object come next. These include descriptors like "sharp," "round," "hexagonal," or "thick."

Shape: Adjectives of shape follow the physical quality descriptors. You might use words like "round," "hexagonal," "square," or "triangular" to depict the shape of an object.

Age: Moving along, we have adjectives denoting age. When describing the age of something, you'd use words like "old," "young," or specific age-related terms such as "ancient" or "modern."

Color: Adjectives representing color come after age. This includes descriptors like "blue," "velvet," "grey," or any other color you're referring to.

Origin: Adjectives indicating the origin or source of something come next. You might use terms like "French," "Welsh," or any other nationality or geographic reference.

Material: Adjectives specifying the material of an object follow the origin. This could include descriptors like "plastic," "velvet," "wooden," or "metallic."

Type: If there are adjectives expressing a particular type or category, they come after the material. For example, "walking" in "walking stick" or "riding" in "riding boots" are considered gerunds used to form compound nouns.

Purpose: Finally, adjectives conveying the purpose or function of something round off the sequence. These are often gerunds used in compound nouns, such as "walking stick" or "riding boots."

By following this order, you can create descriptions that flow naturally and are easy to understand.

Exceptions and Special Cases

While the general order outlined above applies in most situations, there are a few exceptions and variations worth noting:

Adjectives of personality/emotion: When you're describing a person's personality or emotions, these adjectives come after the physical description but before colors. For example, you might say "a small suspicious official," "a pale anxious girl," or "an inquisitive brown dog."

Little, old, and young: These adjectives are often used as part of an adjective-noun combination rather than for providing information. In such cases, they are placed next to their nouns. For instance, "Your nephew is a nice little boy" or "That young man drives too fast." However, when used to provide information, "old" and "young" follow the general age category (point 5 above), and "little" can be used in position 3 (age) as well.

Fine, lovely, nice, and beautiful: These adjectives, when paired with adjectives of size (except "little"), shape, and temperature, often convey approval or appreciation. For example, "a beautiful big room," "a lovely warm house," or "nice/fine thick steaks" imply that you like or appreciate big rooms, warm houses, and thick steaks.

Pretty: "Pretty" can function as an adverb of degree, meaning "very" or "quite," when it precedes another adjective without a comma between them. For example, "She's a pretty tall girl" implies she is quite tall. However, when "pretty" is followed by a comma, it functions as an adjective describing both qualities. For instance, "a tall, pretty girl" means a girl who is both tall and pretty.

Remember, these guidelines are not set in stone, and there may be exceptions or variations based on context or personal style. Nonetheless, understanding the typical order of adjectives will enhance your descriptive skills and make your language usage more precise.

So, whether you're describing a magnificent ancient sculpture or a little old bookstore on a quaint street, now you have the tools to arrange your adjectives with finesse and captivate your readers with vivid descriptions.
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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