Adjective Order

My beautiful, tall, angry, Japanese wife.


Adjective order is tough to get right, not only for beginners but also advanced speakers. Even teachers get confused about the rules (and there are rules).

The less opinion-based or more essential an adjective is, the closer it comes to the noun.

For example, my wife is Japanese. She is beautiful. She is tall, too. Unfortunately, she is also angry.

I could describe her as a beautiful, tall, angry, Japanese woman.

However, we tend not to use chains of four adjectives. Three is a normal maximum, and rarely seen, though chains of two adjectives are often used in everyday conversations.

Here are some songs with more than one adjective modifying a noun.

Little Green Bag

Big Scary Animal

Blue Suede Shoes

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Big Yellow Taxi

Comparing things

comparing things

When you compare things there are three ways to do it:

  1. Use an Adjectival Comparative to Compare the Things

  2. ‘-er’ Comparatives

    Adjectival comparatives come in the ‘-er/est’ form for short adjectives, ‘more/most ____’ form for long adjectives and for negative comparisons ‘not as ___’ and for equal comparisons ‘as ____’.

    The one that causes the most mistakes is the ‘-er/est’ form. This is for short adjectives.

    My car is faster than yours. I like your car, but mine is faster.

    This is correct and has the two ways the comparative can be used. You could replace ‘faster’ with ‘better’, the ‘-er’ form of ‘good’ (the ‘-est’ for is ‘best’).

    The following is a common error:

    John is more taller than Jesung.

    Do not use ‘more’ before an ‘-er’ comparative. ‘Worse/worst’ is in the ‘-er/est’ group, and next we shall look at the ‘-est’ form.

    The Superlative, ‘-est’

    When comparing three things or more, use a superlative.

    The easiest way to be successful in love is studying English. It is easier than being rich and it is easier than being handsome or beautiful.

    Some native speakers use the superlative to compare only two things but this is wrong.

    ‘More’ and ‘Most’

    It’s easy to use ‘more’ and ‘most’ correctly by remembering that they come before long adjectives. ‘More’ is the comparative (similar to ‘-er’) and ‘most’ is the superlative (similar to ‘-est’).

    Hyde Park is more relaxing than Green Park.

    The most interesting museum in London is the British Museum.

    Not As Difficult As You Think

    Using ‘not as’ is simple.

    My Volkswagen Golf was not as expensive as my dad’s Lamborghini.

    Superman isn’t as fun as Batman. And Iron Man isn’t as fun, either.

    As Easy As Pie

    To compare things but saying they are equal, use ‘as’.

    We both climbed that mountain. I’m just as tired as you.

  3. Use an Adverbial Comparative to Compare an Action the Things Do

  4. Using adverbial comparatives is easy when you know how to use adjectival comparisons.

    Usain Bolt runs faster than anyone.

    My mother cooks more quickly than my father but my father cooks more messily.

    The main difficulty here is knowing that fast is an adverb and also an adjective.

  5. Compare Using Simple Statements

  6. Sometimes you just need to use a normal statement clause to compare things.

    Batman fights crime by using expensive equipment and gadgets but Superman fights crime using super powers.

Hopefully comparing things is clearer now than it was before. If you thought this was useful, why not leave a comment or share the post with a friend?