Adjective Placement


What is an adjective?

An adjective, in the simplest terms, is a description word because it describes (or gives information about) a noun, noun clause, or noun phrase. (tall man, red car, long hair)

The confusion regarding an adjective often deals with the adjective’s position in a sentence.

A single adjective usually comes:

  1. before the noun

A black cat is sitting on our steps.

My new car was in an accident.


  1. following the noun (or pronoun) and the verb

The man is Canadian. (after noun and verb)

He is tall. (after pronoun and verb)

What if there is more than one adjective in a sentence?

A noun can have numerous adjectives. You may be speaking about a car that is new, and red, and made in Japan. Would you refer to the car as: a new red Japanese car, or a red Japanese new car, or a Japanese red new car?

If English is your first language, you have heard this type of description so often that you will just say it the way it sounds right, and it probably will be correct. Most English first speakers don’t realize that there is a definite order of adjectives. However, the order of adjectives can create problems for a speaker whose first language is not English.

Size Age Shape Colour Nationality/


Material Use Noun
18th Century bone china soup spoon
large dirty blue American car
small round wooden coffee table
large old square brown Italian wooden end table


Note: If you have an opinion it is usually placed first, with general opinions coming first (wonderful, beautiful, ugly etc.) and specific opinions (delicious, spicy, fast etc.) coming second.

There is a wonderful large old square brown Italian wooden end table for sale if you are looking to buy furniture for your living room.



Comparative and Superlative forms of adjectives

Short adjectives (usually 4 letters or less)

Comparative: For a short adjective, we add “er” (He is smarter than Tom.)

Superlative: For a short adjective, we add “the” and “est” at the end of the adjective. (He is the smartest person in the room.)

Long adjectives (usually 5 letters or more)

Comparative: For a long adjective, we use the word “more”. (He is more intelligent than Tom.)

Superlative: For a long adjective, we use “the most”. (He is the most intelligent person in the room.)

Important: We use “er” and “est” OR “more” and “most”, we don’t mix these two forms. Therefore, we do not say:

“He is the most smartest person in the room”, this is incorrect.