"Thanks for helping me get the A+.  I'm going to grad school!" --Simon D., UCLA

  The Web site just for English students       May 25th, 2024 5:09pm      
click here to return to MyEnglishTeacher.net home
sign up for FREE English lessons, FREE updates and news, and great offers for English students!
visit our online TOEFL Help Center
have an English teacher correct your essay, composition, report or any other type of writing
have a professional correct or write your resume and cover letter!
see past lessons that have appeared on MyEnglishTeacher.net!
see this week's FREE English lesson
click here to enter the LIVE chat room
click here for great resources for teachers

buy textbooks and English books at great prices!

contact us--we'd love to hear from you!


Looking for something?





 see the answers now!

Click here for a printable version

Welcome to this week's writing lesson from


Are you writing a report, typing a letter, or building a Web site?  If so, you must have tons of questions about English grammar.  That's why we are pleased to make the following

book recommendations


This is a terrific book that explains how to correctly use grammar (basic to advanced).  The author discusses lots of problematic areas and how to correct them. Click here for more information.




This is another terrific book which covers intermediate to advanced grammar and writing skills.  This helpful guide discusses tips on creating sentences and essays.  Click here for more information.


Click here to see more English grammar and writing books.

  Can you describe what it looks like?  

Lesson Topic: Using Adjectives and the Order of Adjectives

Let's say you want to buy a new car.  You could not go to the car dealer and say, "I have been dreaming about having a car for a long time.  I know exactly what I want.  Please give it to me."

Of course he would think you are a bit crazy, but he would also ask you a very important question: "What does your dream car look like?"  You would need to describe it to the car dealer, or you simply wouldn't get the car you had been dreaming about.  You would most likely get the automobile the dealer couldn't sell.  That wouldn't be a dream car; it would be a nightmare!

Fortunately, you could use words to describe the car of your dreams.  The words that describe things are called adjectives.  Adjectives describe nouns (nouns are people, places, and things).  Adjectives are a terrific way to make your writing a lot more interesting, too.  Take a look at the following sentence:

I want to buy a car. 

Is this an interesting sentence?  Does it describe the kind of car you want to buy?  The answers are NO and NO!  The listener/reader doesn't know what kind of car you want.  Do you want a big car or little car?  Fast or slow?  Red or blue?  Old or new?  It is quite unclear.  It is also poor writing because it is very boring.  Would you buy a book that was written like this?  Probably not.  Unfortunately, many students and writers write like this.  It is a very common problem which is quite easy to fix.

So what kind of car do you want?  Well, um, . . . 

I want to buy a blue car.

I want to buy a new car.

I want to buy a European car.

I want to buy a beautiful car.

Did you find the adjectives?  They are the words that describe the car.  The adjectives above are blue, new, European, and beautiful.  The above 4 sentences are written as if the writer wants 4 different cars.  However, if the writer just wants 1 car, how would he/she combine the sentences into 1 sentence?  The writer needs to put all of the adjectives together.  Therefore, we get

I want to buy a blue, new, European, beautiful car. 

How's that?  Are there any problems?  YES, there are problems!  The ORDER of adjectives is quite important in English.  There is an order of adjectives that native speakers of English normally follow.  The list below shows how the order of adjectives is usually presented; however, there are exceptions and different combinations depending on the situation.








usually follows this order:



























dark green

navy blue














*Adjectives are never plural.  Therefore, when the adjective contains a number and noun, the noun associated with the number is singular.

This is a three-year-old car. CORRECT
This is a three-years-old car. INCORRECT

Using the above list, we can put all four adjectives together to get the following sentence:

I want to buy a beautiful, new, blue, European car. 

Adding adjectives is very important if you want to make your writing more interesting.  It helps the reader/listener form a picture in his/her mind.

For example, which of these two sentences is more descriptive and interesting?  Which draws a picture in the reader's mind?

1 I want to buy a car. 
2 I want to buy a beautiful, new, blue, European car.

Of course the second sentence is more descriptive and interesting.  The reader can see the car in his/her mind.  If you  would like to learn more ways to make your writing interesting, please see our other lessons on this topic.  Just go to http://www.MyEnglishTeacher.net/previous.html


Directions: Look at the following sentences and adjectives.  Rewrite the sentences using the adjectives in blue.  Be sure to write them in the correct order. 

1.  Aunt Betty wants a coffee table.  (stone, square, gray)

2.  The king took a trip.  (2-week, exhausting)

3.  These are cookies!  (chocolate chip, delicious, huge)

4.  Alice prefers furniture.  (leather, Italian, black)

5.  Archeologists get very excited when they find bones.  (animal, large, prehistoric)



1.  Aunt Betty wants a square, gray, stone coffee table. 

2.  The king took an exhausting, 2-week trip.

*exhausting refers to opinion

3.  These are delicious, huge, chocolate chip cookies!

*chocolate chip refers to a material used to make the cookies

4.  Alice prefers black, Italian, leather furniture.

5.  Archeologists get very excited when they find large, prehistoric, animal bones.

*prehistoric refers to age


  Rules to Remember!


Use commas after each adjective except the last one (no comma between the last adjective and the noun).  For example, 

     Alice prefers black, Italian, leather furniture.


If an adjective has 2 words, do not put a comma between the words.  For example,

     These are delicious, huge, chocolate chip cookies!


It is not necessary to use adjectives with all nouns.  It is suggested that you use adjectives to describe things that are important to both the writer and the reader.  

Do you want to send this lesson to someone?  Click here!

Want to see other lessons that have been published on MyEnglishTeacher.net?  Click here!

Looking for books to improve your writing?  Click here!


2001 MyEnglishTeacher.net.  All rights reserved.  No information or lessons contained on this page or any page in this Web site may be used without the expressed written permission of MyEnglishTeacher.net and its parent company Advanced Learning Center.  This lesson may only be copied and may only be used in a classroom for educational purposes exclusively.  When using in a classroom for educational purposes, this copyright notice MUST be included on all copies. The material contained on this page and all pages in this Web site are covered by copyright laws.  Therefore, no material may be used for another Web site, book, magazine, or any other use.  To use this material, please email us at staff@myenglishteacher.net  

2000 Advanced Learning Center.  All rights reserved.  If you find an error on this Web site, please email us and let us know.  We appreciate all feedback and suggestions.