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.
• Physical description
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