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.

[su_table responsive=”yes”]
Opinions, judgements or attitudes Noun
a lovely jacket.
a perfect plate.
an expensive bike.
[/su_table]

Rule 2: OSASCOMP – S for size

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

[su_table]
Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Noun
a lovely large jacket.
a perfect big plate.
an expensive bike.
[/su_table]

Rule 3: OSASCOMP – A for age

Next are any adjectives relating to age
[su_table]

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Noun
a lovely large new jacket.
a perfect big old plate.
an expensive modern bike.
[su_table]

Rule #4: OSASCOMP – S for shape

[su_table]
Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Noun
a lovely large new jacket.
a perfect big old round plate.
an expensive modern bike.

Rule #5: OSASCOMP – C for colour

Next are the adjectives that talk about colour.
[su_table]

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Colour Noun
a lovely large new black jacket.
a perfect big old round white plate.
an expensive modern red bike.
[/su_table]

Rule #6: OSASCOMP – O for origin

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

[su_table]
Judgements, opinions 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 modern red Italian bike.
[/su_table]

Rule #7: OSASCOMP – M for material

This refers to what the noun is made of.
[su_table]

Judgements, opinions 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 modern red Italian bike.
[/su_table]

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.
[su_table]

Judgements, opinions 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 modern red Italian sports bike.
[/su_table]

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!