Other Grammar Rules

Word order

This lesson deals with two areas which can cause problems for students: word order with adjectives before a noun, and word order with adverbs after a noun.

WORD ORDER BEFORE THE NOUN

The main way of describing a noun is to use adjectives or words that are like adjectives. You add these words after a, the, my, her etc, before the noun. You can add as many as you want, but you sometimes need to be careful about the order in which you use them.

You have a choice of three kinds of word. The largest group consists of adjectives.

a lovely day.    a small round table.         the best students

You may also use a participle before the noun the -ing or -ed form of a verb, but here used to describe the noun.
a crumbling wall.   her smiling face.  a cracked window.  the stolen car.

You may also add one noun before another the first noun is used to describe the second noun, which is the main noun in the phrase.

the school buildings.  a tourist paradise.  a London bus.

WHICH ORDER?

As soon as you use two or more describing words, you have to decide which order to put them in.

In many cases, there is no rule: you simply say first what comes into your mind first. But many adjectives, and the other kinds of describing word, are typically used in a particular place before the noun. You should think of these patterns only as a guide to help you, because there are a number of cases which do not follow the rule. But the following patterns are common:

1. Nouns go next to the main noun in the phrase, after any other adjectives.

A big London bus.  NOT a London big bus.
the long country road.  NOT the country long road.

2. Words which are closely related to nouns, such as the material something is made of or where something is from, also go next to the main noun.

big leather boots.  NOT leather big boots.
a serious social problem.  NOT a social serious problem.

3. Participles usually go in front of groups (1) and (2), but after any adjectives.

a broken garden chair.  NOT a garden broken chair.
a smiling American tourist NOTÂ an American smiling tourist
a happy smiling American tourist  NOT a smiling happy American tourist

4. Adjectives with an intensifying meaning, for example entire, whole, same go near the beginning, close to a, the, my, her etc.

the entire local committee.  NOT the local entire committee.
the same old battered car. NOT the old battered same car.

5. Other adjectives follow (4) and go before (3). Those with a more general meaning usually come first, and those which describe properties of the noun which can be clearly seen, such as size and shape, usually come last. There are typical patterns here, too, as the table shows.

those lovely red curtains.  NOT those red lovely curtains.
a strange triangular table.  NOT a triangular strange tabl
e.

WORD ORDER AFTER THE NOUN

Some adverbs of time and frequency usually come immediately after the main verb. These include:

always, almost, just, rarely, nearly, already, ever, never, still
She is always complaining.  NOT Always she is complaining.
They are still working.  NOT Still they are working.

Always and never are sometimes used at the beginning of a sentence in instructions and warnings, when the verb does not have a subject.

Always keep medicines away from children.
Never look directly at the sun through a telescope.

Adverbs and adverb phrases should not come between the verb and the object.

I like Japanese food very much.  NOT I like very much Japanese food.

Adverbs and adverb phrases should not come between a main verb and an -ing participle, or between a main verb and an infinitive.

Tomorrow we'll go sightseeing.  NOTÂ We'll go tomorrow sightseeing.
In the evenings she likes to watch television.  NOT She likes in the evenings to watch television.

Adverbs and adverb phrases should not come between a modal verb (for example can, must, could) and a main verb.

I can speak Spanish quite well.  NOT I can quite well speak Spanish.

your opinion about sthsizeageshapecolourwhere sth is frommaterial
lovelybigoldroundblackAmericanwool
beautifullittleyoungsquareredFrenchplastic
horriblesmallnewL-shapedbrownJapaneseleather

 

your opinion about sthsizeageshapecolourwhere sth is frommaterial
lovelybigoldroundblackAmericanwool
beautifullittleyoungsquareredFrenchplastic
horriblesmallnewL-shapedbrownJapaneseleather

 

your opinion about sthsizeageshapecolourwhere sth is frommaterial
lovelybigoldroundblackAmericanwool
beautifullittleyoungsquareredFrenchplastic
horriblesmallnewL-shapedbrownJapaneseleather
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