Gramática inglesa de nivel avanzado paso a paso (English Grammar Step by Step)
Write the adjectives given in brackets in the correct order.
a black English wooden tea spoon
When we have several adjectives, they are placed in the following order: colour + origin + material + purpose + the noun
a (transparent, sherry) ____________________ glass
a (evening, blue, Japanese) ____________________ dress
(maroon, rubber) ____________________ boots
a (roasting, German, stainless steel) ____________________ pan
a (navy blue, magazine, plastic) ____________________ rack
a tall young blonde Italian lady
a short fat old man
a big square dining room
We generally put the adjectives referring to the age of someone or something before adjectives of colour; before adjectives of age, adjectives of shape; and before adjectives of shape, adjectives of size.
a (travelling, alarm, round) ____________________ clock
a (vegetable, huge, long, green) ____________________ trailer
a (round, bread, golden, wicker, big) ____________________ basket
a(n) (oval, small, iron) ____________________ shield
a (huge, bright, flying) ____________________ saucer
a gorgeous slim girl
a beautiful long beige French silk nightdress
a beautiful intelligent woman
Adjectives of opinion have the most marginal position. In general, we can say that the more objective an adjective is, the nearer to the noun it comes. For instance "gorgeous" goes before "slim" because "gorgeous" expresses a quality that depends on our viewpoint: it is a more subjective adjective than "slim". This is why we may come across other adjectives positions
a(n) (exquisite, Catalan, typical) ____________________ dish
a (huge, lovely, green) ____________________ garden
a (depressing, solitary) ____________________ mansion
a (young, cheerful, tall) ____________________ man
a(n) (delightful, small, Andalusian) ____________________ patio
4 Complete the following table:
He's fair, short and ugly.
He's an ugly short fair boy.
a black-and-white film/a film in black and white
a violet and red wall/a red and violet wall
an attractive (and) beautiful Portuguese girl
are generally joined by "and", as in the first example. None the less, we sometimes omit it in order to give more speed to the text. Attributive adjectives are not normally linked by "and", unless they express a similar quality. In this case, it is also left out at times, as in the last instance.
(red, yellow) ____________________ roses
He seems to be (intelligent, friendly, noble) ____________________
a (good-looking, pleasant, tall, slim) ____________________ woman
a (brown, Castilian, white) ____________________ horse
a (plastic, TV, metal) ____________________ aerial
6 Revision exercise.
a (rectangular, cream, modern) ____________________ bathroom
(silken, pretty, long) ____________________ hair
a (dreadful, pink, old) ____________________ chinawear
a (processing, new, central, tiny) ____________________ unit
a (tired, local, camera) ____________________ crew
(vast, green, beautiful) ____________________ plains
a (vegetable, large, Greek) ____________________ trailer
a (middle-aged, good-looking, black, pop) ____________________ star
a (traffic, two-hour) ____________________ jam
a (dangerous, New York, gloomy) ____________________ alleyway
a(n) (brand-new, sports, mustard, American) ____________________ car
a (fantastic, delightful) ____________________ evening
You look very (pretty, elegant) ____________________ on that dress.
a (toilet, horrible, lilac) ____________________ bag.
a(n) (enormous, sky-blue, round) ____________________ spaceship
the (wonderful, colourful) ____________________ scenery
a(n) (old, breakdown, red, white) ____________________ truck
a (leather, brown, pretty, turquoise) ____________________ handbag
a(n) (long-distance, obstacle) ____________________ course
a (country, magnificent) ____________________ house
a (tangerine, silk, lime, dreadful) ____________________ shirt
a pair of (Catalan, expensive) ____________________ mocassins
a(n) (ice, peach, modern) ____________________ bucket
a(n) (Chinese, blue, dining, oval) ____________________ table
a pair of (cheap, football, black, yellow) ____________________ boots
(horror, Gothic, late-night) ____________________ films
Other alternatives to the adjective order given below are sometimes found. See section 3 in this unit.
A comma may also be used to separate the adjectives: A black, English, wooden, tea spoon
Note that short
(adjective of length) goes before fat
(adjective of width).
Compare the following:
a demanding young mother
(= a young mother who is demanding)
a young demanding mother
(= a demanding mother who is young)
However, you cannot say a young beautiful mother
, but a beautiful young mother
Note the usage of the hyphens in attributive position. All the same, you can leave them out as well.
The order of adjectives does not really matter in predicative position.