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Grammar bytes 1.0 : Adjective order!

English is a language rich in adjectives. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that people sometimes put the adjectives in the wrong order when trying to describe something with a lot of detail.

The correct order isn’t immediately obvious for those who are learning English as a second language. Here are some easy pointers for remembering the right order.

The best way to remember any information is by using mnemonic resources. In this case, we will see each type of adjective reflected in the acronym: OSASCOMP.


Opinion – Size – Age – Shape – Colour – Origin – Material – Purpose


OSASCOMP  – Opinion

This is a lovely rounded table. – Correct

This is a rounded lovely table. – Incorrect


She has big brown eyes. – Correct

She has brown big eyes. – Incorrect


Courtney bought some cool vintage records last week. – Correct

Courtney bought some vintage cool records last week. – Incorrect


That’s a squared purple chair. – Correct

That’s a purple squared chair. – Incorrect


She has a blue leather sofa. – Correct

She has a leather blue sofa. – Incorrect


This is a Mexican straw hat. – Correct

This is a straw Mexican hat. – Incorrect

OSASCOMP – Material

This is a leather sports jacket. – Correct

This is a sports leather jacket. – Incorrect

OSASCOMP – Purpose

Those are beautiful porcelain dinner plates. – Correct

Those are beautiful dinner porcelain plates. – Incorrect


Of course, these examples are following the order of adjectives without taking into consideration some specific reasons for the order to be different, such as context and intention.

However, in most cases, it is useful to remember and follow the OSASCOMP rules.


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