Posted by: Jack Henry | September 7, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Order of Adjectives

The other day, one of our coworkers sent me an interesting article about adjective order, titled “Why the green great dragon can’t exist.” I know I’ve talked about adjective order before, but it is still one of those things a lot of people never think about, because most native English speakers just “hear” the correct order. The article talks a little bit about this, too. For those of you interested in the standard order of adjectives, I have compiled an ordered list below, along with some examples.

Note: Most professional writers do not string so many adjectives together; they rely on other methods of description to communicate an image to the reader.

Order of Adjectives

Determiner Opinion Physical Description Origin Material Qualifier/
Size Shape Age Color
a lovely little round blue lapis lazuli marble
an expensive antique Swiss silver diving watch
his big fat older brother
our nice large Spanish cork tree
several delicious huge fresh New York egg bagels
that handsome thirty-something auburn Scottish kilt-wearer
three kind young tan Italian dessert chefs

From Outlander

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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