Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adjective order plus - various exercises

These exercises will give you some practice in adjective order, and also in word order in general. This post is part of an experiment to develop more tablet-friendly exercises.

The examples in the last two exercises are rather exaggerated; in practice we'd rarely use more than three adjectives together. They are also my interpretation; some native speakers might disagree about on or two of my more complicated examples.
If you want to make printable copies of the last two exercises, refresh the page or click on 'Reshuffle' before clicking on 'Print'
Answer buttons are right at the bottom so that you are less tempted to cheat!
All images are from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image for attribution and file details.
Exercise 1Use your instict and choose the most natural sounding alternative. Click (or tap) on your chosen option. If you change your mind, just click (or tap) on another.
1. She was wearing a evening-gown.
green long silk - silk green long - long green silk
2. He arrived in car.
a beautiful old sports - a sports old beautiful - an old beautiful sports
3. She sat down on a sofa.
comfortable leather black - comfortable black leather - black leather comfortable
4. She bought some cushions.
enormous red striped - striped enormous red - enormous red striped
5. On the floor was a rug
round patterned Persian - patterned Persian round - Persian round patterned
6. Beside the fireplace were two bookcases.
antique oak French - antique French oak - French antique oak
7. She put on a pullover.
yellow soft woolly - woolly yellow soft - soft yellow woolly
8. He was with that friend of his.
clever handsome young - handsome young clever - handsome clever young
9. The concert was held in that theatre.
amazing new glass - new amazing glass - amazing glass new
10. We sat down at an table.
ugly oval pine - ugly pine oval - oval ugly pine

Adjective types Part 1

We usually talk of eight categories but I've extended it to ten here. Keep trying and checking until you work it out.
Exercise 2Using the information from Exercise 1, put the adjective types into the right order
Pick'N'Drop - Click or tap on one of the phrases on the right (a-h) and then click or tap on the space on the left where you think it should go.
1.  a)pattern
2.  b)colour
3.  c)age
4.  d)shape
5.  e)origin
6.  f)other qualities
7.  g)opinion
8.  h)purpose or type
9.  i)size
10.  j)material

Adjective types Part 2

Exercise 3Put the words into the right category
Click on the 'Start quiz' button to begin. A word will appear above the table. Add it to the appropriate list by clicking on the box in the table where you think it should go. Repeat until you've sorted all the words. There are a total of 50 words, 5 for each category.
Exercise 4Put the words into the right order
PolkadotHalf-timberedPaisley pattern
Pick'n'Swap - click on the word you want to move, and then on the place it should go. When you've got the whole line correct, the words will change colour to green.
Example - in the first question, click on she and then click on the first word. After that, click on wore and then on the second word, and so on.
1. bikiniyellowpolkadotworeitsy-bitsyteenie-weenieshean.
2. littlethosepuppiesspottedcutelookblack-and-whiteatDalmatian.
3. beautifulbeachdeserteddiscoveredgoldenwesandythis.
4. productionnewenormousfacilitycaranpurpose-builtthey'veopened.
5. teacheryounggotSwedishPTwe'vetallagood-looking.
6. newsmartphonehimselfhe'sanall-bells-and-whistlesboughtjustamazing.
7. shegorgeouswearingawaspurpleeveningbacklessdresssilk.
8. inlivetheyhalf-timberedcottageoldcountryablack-and-whitetiny.
9. wearingahebrightly-colouredratherwasattractivetiesilkPaisley-pattern.
10. SwissI'vethisjustboughtarmyincrediblesee-throughmulti-functionknife.
Exercise 5Put the words into the right order
Hand-tooled leatherThree different tartans
swanky = fashionable and expensive in a way that is intended to impress people (OALD)
1. advertisementnewsexiststupidyoucardidthatsportssee?
2. swankycowboyhand-tooledapairhe'sbootsofbrownleathergot.
3. oldlong-hairedcatSiamesethey'vefriendlygota.
4. ismadegreenmarbleoftheirItalianstripyfakefireplace.
5. bookourgotcookerytheSpanishwefromrecipefavourite.
6. itleatherdownanloose-leafinoldwroteredhenotebook.
7. hideoustheFrenchdressingovalatgreatlookedwooden-framedhemirror.
8. warmshegreenwaswoollenalongskirttartanwearing.
9. tallPolishtointroducedwasacharmingmodelheyoung.
10. gavefive-courselavishaItalianbeautifully-prepareddinnertheyus.





  1. You may have guessed some teacher (e.g. me) would need this... next week!
    The order of adjectives is one crazy thing, in my language the order does not matter at all.
    Thank you so much! :)

  2. Hi Baiba, thanks for that. But I'm a bit worried the last two exercises might be a bit too difficult. Should I give the start words?

  3. Hi Will, the exercises are not easy but they are fine for the level B2 students (according to CEFR), and they should be able to find the solution themselves.

  4. Good. Thanks for coming back on that.

  5. Thanks a lot!! This is saving me eons of time ;))

  6. Very useful quiz for me in learning adjectives. Thank you

  7. This was a great exercise for my students. Challenging but they loved the challenge. Thanks Mucho!