GRAMMAR: Adjective order

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Grammar for IELTS Adjective orderAdjective order is important 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

opinion – size – age – shape – colour – origin – material – purpose
Below you will find an explanation for each letter and some example sentences.
Adjective Order Rule 1: OSASCOMP – O for opinion
Adjectives that talk about opinions, judgements or attitudes usually come first.


Opinions, judgements or attitudesNoun
alovelyjacket.
aperfectplate.
anexpensivebike.

Adjective Order Rule 2: OSASCOMP – S for size
Adjectives relating to size, length and height come next. For example:

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightNoun
alovelylargejacket.
aperfectbigplate.
anexpensivebike.

 

Adjective Order Rule 3: OSASCOMP – A for age
Next are any adjectives relating to age

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeNoun
alovelylargenewjacket.
aperfectbigoldplate.
anexpensivemodernbike.

Adjective Order Rule #4: OSASCOMP – S for shape

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeShapeNoun
alovelylargenewjacket.
aperfectbigoldroundplate.
anexpensivemodernbike.

Adjective Order Rule #5: OSASCOMP – C for colour
Next are the adjectives that talk about colour.

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeShapeColourNoun
alovelylargenewblackjacket.
aperfectbigoldroundwhiteplate.
anexpensivemodernredbike.

 

Adjective Order Rule #6: OSASCOMP – O for origin
This refers to adjectives that say where the noun is from.

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeShapeColourOriginNoun
alovelylargenewblackjacket.
aperfectbigoldroundwhiteChineseplate.
anexpensivemodernredItalianbike.

Adjective Order Rule #7: OSASCOMP – M for material
This refers to what the noun is made of.

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeShapeColourOriginMaterialNoun
alovelylargenewblackleatherjacket.
aperfectbigoldroundwhiteChineseporcelainplate.
anexpensivemodernredItalianbike.

 

Adjective Order 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.

Judgements, opinions or attitudesSize, length, heightAgeShapeColourOriginMaterialPurposeNoun
alovelylargenewblackleatherjacket.
aperfectbigoldroundwhiteChineseporcelaindinnerplate.
anexpensivemodernredItaliansportsbike.

Important notes:
1. The adjectives used in 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 you won’t be wrong!
Click here to try the adjective order exercises.

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