Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about adjective order. This is something that native speakers don't really study, but it's something that we kind of know how to do naturally. I'm going to introduce the order of adjectives for today, but if it's difficult for you to remember this order specifically, don't worry too much about it. A good way to practice this is just by reading and listening and understanding the typical order for adjectives. Also, a good thing to keep in mind about this lesson is that usually, we don't have maybe more than two or three adjectives in one sentence. In most cases, you don't need to use all of these adjective rules in one sentence. Just keep this in mind the next time you're maybe writing something or the next time you're reading something that there is a specific order for adjectives. With that said, let's get into today's lesson.
Alright. Yes, adjective order. I've listed from one to nine all these different categories for adjectives. The closer the adjective is to this side of this scale to number one, the earlier it should come in the sentence. The adjectives down here should come last in the sentence, last before the noun that they follow. Let's look at each category first and then we'll look at some examples for how to use these. Okay. First one is "quantity." "Quantity" means like the number or the quantifier. This is quite simple like two, or three, or a lot of, or a huge amount of, for example. This is quite simple. In other words, how much of the thing are you talking about, or how many as well?
The second category for adjectives is "values or opinions." These are things that come from the speaker or the person writing. These are our personal ideas or our personal values of the noun. Some examples of this; great or terrible, kind, friendly, gross. These are all kind of opinion-based adjectives. These are our own ideas about the adjective. That's second. Third will be "size." So, adjectives of "size." Some examples are big, little, huge, tiny, giant. How big or how small the adjective is. The next category refers to age. Age, for example, adjectives of age could be old, young, ancient, for example. These will come after size adjectives.
The next one would be "shape." "Shape" doesn't only mean like a square or a triangle, for example, or in the adjective form, triangular. We can also use these shape adjectives in terms of like people's bodies, for example, like fat or skinny. We can also use them to talk about like objects. It's a round table, for example, or a square table as well. These are some examples of shape adjectives. "Color" is pretty clear, I think. Color, for example, blue, green, red, or yellow. The color of the item you are describing is next.
The next category is "origin." "Origin" here means where did the noun come from? Where is it from? For example, Chinese or West African or Thai, for example. The next category, "material." "Material" can mean many different things. In other words, what is the noun made of? We can talk about the "material." And finally, number nine is "purpose." The "purpose" means what is the noun used to do or why do you need this noun? What is the purpose of the noun? As I said, this is not a point, this is not a grammar point or a language point the native speakers study officially, at least to my knowledge. Native speakers don't study this in many schools, but it's something that we learn through practice.
Let's take a look at some examples of how these can be applied to make sentences. Okay. First one, "My brother." My noun here is "my brother." "My brother is a smart, funny, American guy." Here, I have three adjectives in this sentence. "My brother is smart, funny, American." My first two adjectives here are "smart" and "funny." "Smart" and "funny," actually, they're both opinion adjectives like here. These are value or opinion words, "smart" and "funny," my ideas of my brother. Because these words come from the same category, I can use them in any order I choose. Here, I've said, "My brother is a smart, funny, American guy." I could say, "My brother is a funny, smart, American guy." That's fine because these adjectives "smart" and "funny" come from the same category.
In these cases then, we can use a comma to separate the adjectives. "Smart" and "funny" or "funny" and "smart." If you can mix the adjectives, meaning you can change the order of the adjectives, you can separate them with a comma. However, the third adjective I used here is "American." "American" is an adjective relating to his origin. "Where is he from? He's from America." I used "American" to refer to his origin. I can't use a comma here because "American," as an origin adjective, comes after an opinion adjective. I just need to put the adjective just before the noun in this case. This is my last adjective in the sentence. I'm not including any material points about what my brother is made of. I'm not including any sort of purpose information. My last adjective is here. I don't need to use any comma. "My brother is a smart, funny, American guy," two opinion adjectives and one origin adjective here.
Okay. Let's look at another example sentence. Here, "My neighbor," in this case. "My neighbor is a quiet, friendly, old man." Again, we see this similar; "quiet, friendly, old man," three-adjective pattern here. "Quiet and friendly," again, are opinion words. I can separate these with a comma, "quiet and friendly." However, here, I've used "old." "Old" relates to age. That still means though that this adjective needs to come after the opinion adjective. "My neighbor is a quiet, friendly, old man," is the correct order for these adjectives.
Okay. Let's change it up a little bit. "Your coworker sounds like a thoughtful young woman." Again, I'm using an opinion adjective and an age adjective here. "Thoughtful" and "young" are my two adjectives. In this case, I'm using only two adjectives and I can't change the order of adjectives. It sounds strange if I say, "Your coworker sounds like a young thoughtful woman." It sounds strange because "young" should come after the opinion adjective. I can't change the order of these two adjectives. They have to be "thoughtful" first, "young" second. I can't use a comma in this case.
Alright. Great. That's a quick introduction to some very common sentence patterns using adjectives, multiple adjectives. Let's take a look then at phrasal adjectives. Phrasal adjectives are phrases that we use as adjectives. Let's look at some examples. First, "I love the smell of freshly baked bread." Here, "bread" is my noun, and my phrasal adjective is this part, "freshly baked." "What kind of bread do I like?" Or rather, "What kind of bread do I love the smell of? I love the smell of freshly baked bread." This is my phrasal adjective here. I can combine two words to make a phrase that acts as an adjective here. In this case, I'm only using one adjective, one phrasal adjective before the noun. I don't need to worry so much about the order, but we can use adjectives in this way, phrases as adjectives.
Okay. Let's look at another one then. "He loves Chicago-style pizza." What kind of pizza? Chicago-style. Here is my phrasal adjective. I could say, "He loves fresh Chicago-style pizza, or maybe freshly baked Chicago-style pizza," for example. Okay. Let's continue to the next one. "It's important to eat a vegetable-rich diet." Be careful. Diet doesn't necessarily mean a plan to lose weight, but it means your regular eating habits here. Here, my phrasal adjective is "vegetable-rich." That means a diet that is rich in vegetable. Rich doesn't mean a lot of money; it means a lot of vegetables, a lot of something, a vegetable-rich diet. Here, again, only one adjective but as a phrase, it's used together. These two words are used together.
Okay. But another point that I want to talk about is using phrasal adjectives with time expressions because this is a point that I've noticed many people struggle with. First, let's look at an example. First example, simple, "A two-month old child." Here, we're describing the age of the child but we're using months to do it. Even though "two" is used here, because I'm using this expression as a phrase, "two-month old child," actually, we use the singular form of the time expression here. In this case, we don't say, "Two months old child." We would not say that. Please use the singular form of the time expression. I have this as a note here. Singular formations for time expressions, not the plural form.
"A two-month old child." This is referring to the age of the child. Two months is the age of the child. I could say, "My child is two months old." That's okay. But if I'm using this as a phrasal adjective before the noun, I need to say, "A two-month old child." No S at the end. Let's look at another example. Here, I have, "Four-day business trip." Actually, there are two points to talk about here. "Four-day" is my time expression, and then I have "business" here. This is the purpose in this case. "Four-day" relates kind of like to age or to time really, and then "business." "Business" is my purpose. The purpose of my trip is a business trip. "Business" functions as an adjective in this case, "A four-day business trip," in this case. And again, this day is in the singular form. Not "four days business trip" but a "four-day business trip."
Finally, "12- hour marketing meeting." Here in this sentence, "A 12-hour marketing meeting," we see the same thing as this "four-day business trip." We have this "12-hour" phrasal adjective here, and then we have a purpose, the "marketing meeting." "Marketing" is the purpose here. "12-hour," it's a very long meeting. "A 12-hour" refers to like age or time, and "marketing" is the purpose of the meeting. Why are we at the meeting? For marketing, in other words. In each of these, we're using the singular form of the time expression. Please be careful to do that.
Okay. That's everything that I want to introduce for this lesson. I know that this is a lot of information, but instead of trying to memorize this, I would recommend, just try to be aware when you're reading and when you're listening that there is a natural pattern that native speakers follow. Also, generally, if there's not a communication problem, then it's probably okay, like don't worry too much about using the perfect adjective order every time. But if you want to know, if you want to practice, you can use these rules as a guideline.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are some exceptions. There are some expressions that we use out of order, and you will see those from time to time. But for most cases, for most situations, you can follow this rule if you like and you should have no problem. If you have any questions or if you'd like to try to make a sentence, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Monday at 07:49 AM
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Hi teachers!

Thanks for this lesson

Please, could you show me an example with the 9 category (purpose)?

Thanks again :D

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Monday at 06:18 PM
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Hello Yade,

Thank you very much for your positive feedback.

Please let us know if you have any questions throughout your studies.



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Saturday at 02:17 PM
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Thank you!

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Tuesday at 04:41 PM
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Hello there Mukti,

Thank you for your question.

That must have been an older video and has been updated since. I can't seem to find another lesson on this.

I hope you are enjoying your studies with us.



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Mukti Prakash Datta
Tuesday at 06:24 AM
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I have question, your other video about adjective order, you mentioned 8 categories starting by Determiner but in this video adjective categories are 9, so which one is correct ? Thanks

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Saturday at 02:44 AM
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Hello salman,

Thank you for posting. If you ever have any questions, please let us know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kind regards,


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Friday at 08:50 AM
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A class/topic related to this theme considered helpful and fantastic .. Thank you for all effort you have made

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Sunday at 11:13 PM
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Hi Lucas,

Thank you for your kind feedback! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We are very happy to have you here studying with us.

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Sunday at 10:59 PM
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Hi Alisha, this lesson was useful and great!

Adjectives are not easy learners for English students.

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Sunday at 10:44 PM
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Hi Yasser,

Thank you for your kind feedback! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are very happy to have you here studying with us. If you ever have any questions, please let us know!

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