You likely order your adjectives without thinking about it. It feels natural to say “a big, Irish wolfhound.” You wouldn’t say an “Irish big wolfhound.”

That’s because if English is your first language, you naturally adopted, and were taught, an order of adjectives. Here it is, with some examples of adjectives to go with it: 

  • Determiner: Not an adjective, but something needing consideration because they always come before adjectives and the nouns they modify. These are words such as articles, possessives and demonstratives: The, your, our, these.
  • Quantity: One, five, many, few.
  • Opinion: Tasty, heroic, misguided, valuable.
  • Size: Big, tiny, medium-sized.
  • Age: New, old, decades-old.
  • Shape: Square, round, triangular.
  • Color: Pink, black, green, blue.
  • Origin/material: Indonesian, wooden, velvet, African.
  • Qualifier: Hound dog, denim skirt, pickup truck.

Let’s say you wanted to use all of the descriptors above at once: Our five valuable medium-sized old triangular blue Indonesian denim skirts were sold at auction for $50,000 each. 

We would tell you to break it up but also congratulate you for putting it in the right order, likely without having to think about it. 

Note that commas need to be used with multiple adjectives from the same category but not when the adjectives are from different categories:

The heroic, misguided protagonist makes for a confusing plot.

Happy adjective ordering!