The Importance of Adjectives
OK everyone; imagine you have just won the lottery and you want to spend some of your winnings(2) on a new car. You could not go to the car dealer(3) and say “I have been dreaming about a car since I won. I know exactly what I want. Please give it to me.” Of course the car dealer would think you were a little 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 would get the car that the car dealer could not sell. And that would not be your dream car, but the car from your worst nightmare!(4)
Fortunately, you can use adjectives to describe the car of your dreams. They are an excellent way to make your writing or speaking a lot more interesting. Think about the following sentence: “I want to buy a car”. Is this an interesting sentence? Does it describe the type of car you want to buy? In both cases the answer is definitely no. The listener or reader does not know what type of car you want. Do you want a big or a small car? A fast or slow one? One that is new or second-hand, red or black? It is anyone’s guess.(5) It is not only poor writing, but also very boring. Fortunately, it is a problem that can be fixed(6) with a little practice.The salesman would probably ask you to be a little more specific about the type of car you want.
You could say: I want to buy an Italian car. I want to buy a fast car. I want to buy a red car.
The adjectives Italian, fast and red are all used to describe cars. These three sentences suggest you want three different cars. However, if you only want one car, how could the sentences be combined into one sentence? The answer is to put all the adjectives together. You could say: I want to buy an Italian fast red car. Is that correct? Are there any problems? Yes, there are! There is an order for adjectives that native speakers of English usually follow instinctively, and in the above sentence the order of adjectives is wrong! Below is a table that offers a guide to the order for adjectives. Although certain other combinations may be acceptable, this is the correct order in most cases.
The Adjective Order Table
Number/Article-Opinion -Size- Age -Colour- Material- Origin-Purpose -Noun
Two pairs of black leather(7) riding boots
Six beautiful old African lions
An attractive tall Brazilian model
A modern red brick(8) house
A small ceramic flower pot
Following the instructions of the above table, we can put the three adjectives together to form the following sentence:I want to buy a fast [opinion] red [colour] Italian [origin] car. This sentence will indicate to the car dealer what type of car you want to buy.
Now watch the video to learn more about the order of adjectives !!
(1) to overcome – superar
(2) winnings – ganancias
(3) car dealer – concesionario de coche
(4) nightmare – pesadilla
(5) to be anyone’s guess – ¡Vete a saber!
(6) to fix – arreglar