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Nouns can be modified by multiple adjectives. For instance, “the old blue plastic bin.”

But can you just order them in any way?

The plastic blue old bin” doesn’t sound quite right. That’s because there’s a royal order of adjectives, in other words, a preferred way to order them.

Preferred order of adjectives

This is the royal order:


  • Determiner  — the, a, your [not an adjective, but the first thing to include in your list] 
  • Opinion — delicious, clever, beautiful
  •  Size — large, medium-sized, tiny
  •  Age — new, antique
  •  Shape — round, flat, square
  •  Color — red, crimson, light-brown
  •  Origin — European, polar, eastern
  •  Material — wooden, iron

Whenever you’re unsure of the order of your adjectives, check whether they follow the royal order.

Now start writing your interesting big rectangular blue business book!


I do want to mention that less is often more when it comes to adjectives. The royal order also applies when you use just two adjectives. Even fewer can be better still! More about that later.

Did you know about the royal order? Did some adjectival orders feel a little off but you didn’t know why? Let me know in the comments.

[Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]

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