Menu
Account

A funny old business

A funny old business tests you on the order of adjectives.

In English, if you apply a number of different adjectives in front of a noun (and they always do go in front, in English ~ not afterwards, as in several other languages ... ), there is a definite order of 'categories' in which these adjectives are expected to go. Sometimes even native speakers become muddled, but the usual order is:

Read More
  1. Your personal opinion of the thing, e.g. that it's 'nice' or 'ghastly'
  2. Any other simple description that does not belong later in the order (e.g. the size or age of the thing)
  3. Colour
  4. Where the item comes from (country of origin, style etc; e.g. 'African')
  5. What it's made of (e.g. wooden, cotton)
  6. What it's for (e.g. a WALKING stick)

... and then, at last, the noun itself.

Meanwhile, almost any adjective may itself be further modified by an adverb in front of it ('a seriously expensive accident') ...

Read Less
  1. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    Someone is wearing a pair of boots that were originally used by Red Army soldiers while they were on active service beyond the Arctic Circle.
    A suitably tough example to start with, but do check it against our list!
  2. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    A friend has come back from Italy, where she took a picture of some small, historical dwelling-houses which she felt were particularly pretty.
    (Opinion + size + age + material)
  3. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    A man has walked into the room with a very eye-catching tie round his neck, which might be described as ...
    (Another fairly extreme example, but it runs:
    Opinion + colour + style/period ... and then the final (crucial!) specification that this tie is ~ by the standards of any other period ~ grotesquely wide (and thus, it catches and offends the eye of anyone who sees if!)
  4. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    You are sorting out all the old items in your kitchen (or loft, or garage), and decide that you can eventually throw away ...
    (Opinion + age + other significant physical characteristic + country of origin + purpose)
  5. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    During a television commercial for a re-launched brand of shampoo, your eye is caught as the model twists ...
    (Opinion + 2 physical properties + colour)
    NB 'Strawberry blonde' is a compound colour description, similar in its linguistic way to 'Navy blue' or 'deep crimson'.
  6. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    My flatmate arrived home yesterday carrying ...
    (Opinion + age + colour + material [ = environmentally friendly hessian] + purpose)
    You may find it helpful that the purpose of an object quite often ends in '-ing'; though not all do, and some '-ing' words may appear elsewhere in such a list (e.g. a 'hulking great Australian rugby player', where 'hulking' is more or less an adverb to increase the impression of size still further)
  7. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    One of her recurring bad memories of school, was of spending hour upon hour sitting on ...
    (Opinion [in two stages, explaining the reason] + origin + material + purpose/function [i.e., one principal feature of these chairs is that they are designed to stack away while not being sat on])
  8. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    Her uncle has been in the fruit-farming business all his life, and is now the proud owner of ...
    (Opinion + age + 'other' + location + purpose [i.e. for growing apples, rather than some other fruit])
  9. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    The couple next door came back from the city recently, full of enthusiasm after enjoying a concert given by ...
    The 'string orchestra' can't really be divided because this phrase defines the essential nature / purpose of the group. It may help if you put the most important detail at the back before sorting out the others in reverse order.
    In this case we have: Opinion (2 details) + age (this may refer to the age of the orchestra ~ how long it's been going ~ or, probably more likely, the age of the individual players, i.e. that they are fresh out of their training and playing with particular vigour) + origin + what type of instruments/music they exist to play.
  10. Choose the answer that matches the definition and contains all the adjectives in the correct order.
    My little brother came into my bedroom last night ~ frightened by a bad dream in which, he said, he was being chased by a ...
    (Physical description, beginning with size ... 'alien monster' probably goes best at the back, even though this is the origin. It probably wasn't originally created to eat human beings, so 'man-eating' might not count as 'purpose'.)
    'Stonking certainly isn't an indicator of purpose: it's an informal adverb that adds a suggestion of size [cf. 'striding / stamping', which the monster probably also does).
    This is perhaps a rather more elusive final example but we believe Answer 1 is the most likely built-up description. The terrified child would probably not have been over-fussy about the order in which he shared these details!

Author: Ian Miles

© 2014 Education Quizzes

TJS - Web Design Lincolnshire

Welcome to Education Quizzes
Login to your account