Thursday, July 5, 2012

Did you know this?

Phew! What a day! It's so hot you can hardly breathe... And it's been so for quite a few days now... I'm even inclined to say it's blistering heat :)

Anyhow, I would like to talk about the right order of adjectives in English sentences... Did you know that when you have more than one adjective describing a noun, then you need to think of how to order these adjectives correctly?

There's no problem when you say


Problems start when you need more adjectives to describe that table, for instance, when you are selling a table... What happens then and how to solve the 'adjective' problem?

Well, I have always used this extremely effective mnemotechnical trick:

Very Soon A Trading Ship Will COME

And how does it work? Let me explain. Just pay attention to CAPITAL LETTERS only:

V = value (expensive, cheap)
S = size (big, small, large, tall)
A = age (old, young, ancient, modern, new)
T = type (mechanical, electric)
S = shape/style (narrow, wide, oval, round)
W = weight (heavy, light)
C = color (black, red, yellow, red)
O = origin (Chinese, Japanese, Polish, English)
M - material (wooden, brick, glass)
E = end purpose (coffee, survival, cutting)

Thus, our just 'nice table' can be described as

a nice valuable big oval heavy red Chinese wooden coffee table :)

Unfortunately, it's not the end of the story... as you have noticed, the table is first described by a general (intangible and abstract) adjective 'nice'... There is another rule you have to know... All general, intangible and abstract adjectives come before 'the trading ship' :)

And finally, when you have to use some numbers... hmmm.... they always come FIRST :) So, we can expand the description of my table... and we may say something like this:

I have two nice valuable big oval heavy red Chinese wooden coffee tables :)

Are you still with me? Hope yes :)
Looking forward to you valuable comments!


  1. Okay let's play :D

    I possess a cheap, but large old electric oval light yellow English stone chest - of - drawers


    1. Great... although I can hardly imagine a stone chest-of-drawers :)

  2. Then your imagination must be really weak :) hihi

    But seriously, I wanted to write an eloquent comment on your post that it was incredibly useful and interesting. However, I couldn't think of more than 4 adjectives so I gave up... :) Ooooh I'm so crazy tonight...

    1. Thanks justadreamer! Hmmm... Just four? Oh please :) Perhaps you have a nice car to describe :)

    2. haha yeah but I give up. I tried but it's too hard for me :D Maybe another day ;) But I have to tell you that this post is a great idea for the occasional lesson...! Thank you for the inspiration! :)

    3. Thanks. Tell me more who exactly you work with. What are your feelings about working with your specific age groups?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. During the summer holidays I work with a group of students from 4th to 6th grade. I remember my first lesson two days ago. I prepared so many nice activities and I had to modify them during the lesson. I thought that those children were younger! I mean, I don't think they are children anymore :) If you know what I mean... However, it's easy to teach them because the language is not as simple as in the kindergarten and they didn't learn mistakes or even if they did, it's still quite easy to teach them correctly... Anyway, each group has its positive and negatives features.

    1. I used to work with primary school kids some 15 years ago. It was a great time, but since then I have changed a bit and I simply love working with more mature students, say upper-secondary or, even better, adults :)

      I can't say I agree with you in saying that teaching kids is easy... For me, working with kids is atrociously difficult :) This is a bit paradoxical as it is not very complex English grammar or vocabulary that are to be prepared, but the ways in which these simple linguistic issues should be presented and practiced.


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