What’s wrong with these sentences?

  • A brown, flat, leather Italian shoe.
  • A fishing, wooden, blue, old boat.
  • A silver, square, trinket, small box.
  • An Indian, vegetable, spicy curry.
  • A green, vast, beautiful valley.

They sound odd, don’t they?

If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s because the adjectives — the describing words — are in the wrong order.

In English we say or write our adjectives in this specific order:

  1. Opinion
  2. Size
  3. Age
  4. Shape
  5. Colour
  6. Origin
  7. Material
  8. Purpose

Followed by the noun we are describing.

You probably don’t remember being taught this — but you’ve definitely learned it. And you may not have even realised you knew it, until just now.

Now let’s try those sentences again

  • A flat, brown, Italian leather shoe.
  • An old, blue, wooden fishing boat.
  • A small, square, silver trinket box.
  • A spicy Indian vegetable curry.
  • A beautiful, vast, green valley.


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About the author

I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter and content writer based in Leicester, at the heart of the UK.

I offer a range of freelance copywriting and content writing services, both online and offline.

If you’d like to find out more, please visit my main website.

Photo by Matt Glover Photography