posted on October 8, 2021

Adjective order in English

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adjective order in english

Adjective order in English

Adjective order in English can be be quite complicated. If you are using more than one adjective before a noun, there is often a specific order in which they must be placed.

For example:

A black leather jacket (correct)

A leather black jacket (incorrect)

Here is a short acronym to help you remember: OSASCOMP. Below you will find an explanation for each letter and some example sentences.


Rule 1: OSASCOMP - O for opinion

Adjectives that talk about opinions, judgements or attitudes usually come first.


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Noun

a

lovely

jacket.

a

perfect

plate.

an

expensive

bike.


Rule 2: OSASCOMP - S for size

Adjectives relating to size, length and height come next. For example:


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Noun

a

lovely

large

jacket.

a

perfect

big

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

bike.


Rule 3: OSASCOMP - A for age

Adjectives relating to size, length and height come next. For example:


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

bike.


Rule 4: OSASCOMP - S for shape

Adjectives relating to shape come next. For example:


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Shape

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

-

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

round

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

-

bike.


Rule 5: OSASCOMP - C for colour

Next are the adjectives that talk about colour.


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Shape

Colour

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

-

black

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

round

white

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

-

red

bike.


Rule 6: OSASCOMP - O for origin

This refers to adjectives that say where the noun is from - their origin.


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Shape

Colour

Origin

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

-

black

-

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

round

white

Chinese

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

-

red

Italian

bike.


Rule 7: OSASCOMP - M for material

This refers to what the noun is made of.


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Shape

Colour

Origin

Material

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

-

black

-

leather

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

round

white

Chinese

porcelain

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

-

red

Italian

-

bike.


Rule 8: OSASCOMP - P for purpose

This refers to what the noun is used for (e.g. wedding ring). They are often nouns used as adjectives.


Opinions, judgements or attitudes

Size, length, height

Age

Shape

Colour

Origin

Material

Purpose

Noun

a

lovely

large

new

-

black

-

leather

-

jacket.

a

perfect

big

old

round

white

Chinese

porcelain

dinner

plate.

an

expensive

expensive

modern

-

red

Italian

-

sports

bike.


Important notes:

1. The adjectives used in some of the tables above are examples only. It is uncommon in English to use more than three adjectives in the same sentence to describe a noun.

2. Some adjectives can be found in different positions, but if you follow the OSASCOMP rule for adjective order in English, you won't be wrong!


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