The Order of Adjectives

September 10, 2016

No native English speaker will say “the green great dragon”…

Many native English speakers don’t explicitly know that there is a guideline for the order of adjectives. Instead, they learned the order through experience and conversations.

As Mark Forsyth explains, the order must be:


“If you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac”, he warns in the extract. “It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out. And as size comes before color, green great dragons can’t exist.”

For example, “a lovely, thick, black coat” will sound much more natural to a native speaker than “a black, thick, lovely coat”.

Keep this in mind when using multiple adjectives to describe a noun!