When more than one adjective is used to modify a noun, or when nouns are used to modify another noun, the order of adjectives needs to follow a particular sequence. For example, we could say a delicious mature blue cheese but not a blue delicious mature cheese. This post defines the positions for different groups of adjectives with examples given.
Origin, material and purpose
The order of adjectives of origin, material and purpose typically follow in this sequence.
The order of adjectives for physical description is as follows: size, shape, age and colour (This group comes before the origin – material – purpose sequence mentioned above).
Adjectives which describe opinions, judgements or attitudes come before all other adjectives.
Numbers usually go before all adjectives, in the same position as articles (a/an/the):
The complete order of adjectives table
|determiner →||observation →||size →||shape →||age →|
|colour →||origin →||material →||purpose →||NOUN|
A final note on the use of commas
We generally use commas to separate three or more adjectives that are placed before a noun:
a delicious, spicy, Thai meal
a long, dark, leather jacket
But commas can be omitted when using common sets of adjectives such as trinomials:
a tall(,) dark(,) handsome visitor
a cool(,) calm(,) collected individual