Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default order of adjectives

    I took this quiz: http://www.usingenglish.com/members/quizzes/139.html and I did mistakes in questions 5,6,8,9.

    Could you try to explain how I can recognize which answer is right?

    For example, I don't see a difference between "it's an old beautiful film" (incorrect) and "it's a beautiful old film"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    43
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    i'm a native english speaker and i've never actually encountered the rules. i just read them an instinctively knew the correct order. i had to look it up to explain

    good information:
    http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzo...mar/adjord.htm
    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/cyc/a/adj.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    There's an order to adjectives: size, shape, age, color, origin, material.

    Here's the chart:

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm

    When you get to that page, scroll down to the middle of the page, where it says, "Royal Order of Adjectives".

  4. #4
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    thank you for the nice links :)

  5. #5
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    However, http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/cyc/a/adj.htm and http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzo...mar/adjord.htm say the order is like this: ...size, age, shape... and http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm and you, Casiopea, say ...size, shape, age...

    Casiopea:
    There's an order to adjectives: size, shape, age, color, origin, material.

    So which one is right?

    "What is this old curved/curved old stick?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    43
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka
    However, http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/cyc/a/adj.htm and http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzo...mar/adjord.htm say the order is like this: ...size, age, shape... and http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm and you, Casiopea, say ...size, shape, age...

    Casiopea:



    So which one is right?

    "What is this old curved/curved old stick?"
    wow you make me do more research! thats okay, glad to help.

    I pulled out my Bedford Handbook (the standard in most American classrooms) and I found the order "size, shape, age".

    However, it also says, "This list is just a general guide; don't be suprised when you encounter exceptions."

    For example, "the round old ball" does not sound right. We say "the old round ball". On the other hand, we always call my brother's Volvo "an old boxy heap of [expletive]", but "a boxy old heap of [expletive]" would sound okay too.

    As for the stick I would say age, shape "what is this old curved stick?"
    Last edited by borat; 02-Dec-2005 at 22:33.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka
    age, shape
    shape, age
    Source: http://www.fortunecity.com/bally/dur.../gramch21.html

    As indicated below, there are several types of general descriptive adjective, which often occur in a certain order. However, the order of different types of general descriptive adjective is more flexible than the order of other types of attributive adjective.

    Usual Order of Attributive Adjectives

    1) certain determiners such as all, both and half
    2) determiners including the articles a, and and the;
    possessive adjectives e.g. my, his, her, our and their;
    demonstrative adjectives e.g. that, these, this, and those; and
    certain other determiners such as another, any, each, either,
    enough, every, neither, no, some, what and which
    3) cardinal numbers e.g. one, two, three; and
    certain other determiners such as few, many and several
    4) determiners such as fewer, fewest, least, less, more and most
    5) general descriptive adjectives, often in the following order:
    a) adjectives indicating size e.g. large, long, narrow
    b) adjectives indicating weight e.g. heavy, light
    c) participles and other adjectives e.g. clever, excited, interesting
    d) adjectives indicating temperature e.g. cold, hot, warm
    e) adjectives indicating humidity e.g. dry, damp, wet
    f) adjectives indicating age e.g. new, six-month-old, young
    g) adjectives indicating shape e.g. barrel-shaped, round, square
    6) adjectives indicating color e.g. blue, grey, white
    7) adjectives indicating materials e.g. cloth, leather, metal
    8) proper adjectives e.g. American, Victorian
    9) defining adjectives, usually indicating purpose, method of operation, location,
    time or categories of people

    ii. General descriptive adjectives

    c) Participles and other general descriptive adjectives which do not fall into any of the other categories usually follow adjectives indicating size and weight, and precede other types of attributive adjective. In the following examples, the adjective alert, and the participles twittering and excited are underlined.
    e.g. two large, alert black cats
    eleven tiny, twittering birds
    many excited children

    [EX: an old, curved stick; a curved, old stick]

    d) to g) The order of adjectives indicating temperature, humidity, age and shape is not as predictable as the order of other attributive adjectives. For instance, adjectives indicating temperature occur sometimes before and sometimes after general descriptive adjectives such as clear and hard.
    e.g. clear, cold water
    cold, hard ice

    It should be noted that the position of attributive adjectives indicating age may be altered to change the emphasis.
    e.g. a new, efficient method
    an efficient, new method
    In the first example, the adjective new is emphasized. In the second example, the adjective efficient is emphasized.

  8. #8
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Thank you, Casiopea.
    I just still don't understand the old curved/curved old stick.

    You said:
    [EX: an old, curved stick; a curved, old stick]
    What does it mean? We can use both the adjective orders? Why is it separated by commas?


    What about this sentence (from http://www.usingenglish.com/members/quizzes/139.html):
    The last two visitors were Japanese. <= LAST is considered which adjective type? Why does LAST stand before TWO ?
    Last edited by Lenka; 03-Dec-2005 at 10:46.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,970
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka

    an old, curved stick
    a curved, old stick

    We can use both the adjective orders?
    Yes. The comma serves to separate the two adjectives: in the first example "old" modifies "curved stick" and in the second example "curved" modifies "old stick". The emphasis is different:

    [1] an old, curved stick = a curved stick that is old.
    [2] a curved, old stick = an old stick that is curved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka
    What about this sentence?
    The last two visitors were Japanese.
    According to Practical English Usage by Michael Swan (Oxford,1995, OUP) p13, numbers usually go before adjectives. First, next and last go before one, two, three :

    EX: six large eggs
    EX: the second big shock
    EX: the first three days

  10. #10
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    863
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: order of adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    [1] an old, curved stick = a curved stick that is old.
    [2] a curved, old stick = an old stick that is curved.
    Can we do these changes in order also with the other types of adjectives or only with size - shape - age?
    For example a beautiful old house. - an old house that is beautiful
    an old beautiful house. - a beautiful house that is old.

    Do I have to separate them by commas?

Similar Threads

  1. in order
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-Apr-2005, 16:45
  2. correct order in adjectives
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Jul-2004, 23:48
  3. order of adjectives, use of word 'natural'
    By anfad in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2004, 20:53
  4. Questions about Inversions - Inverted Word Order
    By Anonymous in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 31-May-2003, 22:43
  5. in order to
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-Apr-2003, 11:52

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •