Adjective order


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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

A leather black jacket

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:

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

Rule 3: OSASCOMP – A for age

Next are any adjectives relating to age

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

Rule #4: OSASCOMP – S for shape


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.

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.

Rule #6: OSASCOMP – O for origin

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

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.

Rule #7: OSASCOMP – M for material

This refers to what the noun is made of.

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.

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 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.

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!

Exercises / Tests

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