Order of Adjectives



“A cute, tiny, traditional, long, pink, Japanese silk kimono.”

When there are multiple adjectives that apply to the same noun we use this order

First: Amount (many, some, a few, 10, 3 …)

Second: Opinion/quality (beautiful, scary, boring, fine…)

Third: Size (big, small, tiny, immense…)

Fourth: Age (old, young, seven-year old, ancient….)

Fifth: Shape (round, thin, blocky, square…)

Sixth: Color

Seventh: Origin /Nationality

Eighth: Material (steel, wooden, stone…)

Or course it’s rare to use all of them in a sentence, like the initial examples about the kimono.


A cute, tiny, traditional, long, pink, Japanese silk kimono.”

It’s better to focus on just a few:


Many tired small old Asian monks” (quantity, quality, size, age, origin)


A big round wooden table.” (quantity, size, shape, material)

It’s not a big deal if you get the order wrong. If you say “a wooden, round, big table” the listener can understand completely, it just doesn’t seem to flow as well. Always remember to put amount first though.

~ing/~ed adjectives(Boring/ Bored, Tired/Tiring)


“I was so bored during the movie”

“The movie I saw was so boring


“I am tired after a long week.”

“My week at work was so tiring

In English we have some adjectives that can have the suffix (word ending) “–ing” or “–ed”. English learners often get them mixed up.

The “–ed” ending describes how a person feels. “I was bored” = “I felt boredom.” “I am tired” = “I feel tiredness”.

The “-ing” ending describes the source of those feelings. “The movie was boring” = “The movie gave me boredom.” “My week was tiring” = “My week gave me tiredness”.

This is the same for all of these kind of adjectives: frightened/ frightening, embarrassed/ embarrassing, infuriated/ infuriating … etc.

If you make a mistake with these two forms it can sound kind of silly.

“I am boring” = “I give other people the feeling of boredom, I am the cause of boredom.”

“The movie was excited” = “the movie is alive, and experienced the feeling of excitement.”

And be careful when you talk about other people:

“My friend is boring.” = “My friend makes other people feel boredom”


“My friend is bored.” = “My friend feels boredom.”


Both of those sentences have proper grammar, but very different meanings.


Third Conditional – Fake Past

Third Conditional – Fake Past

The third conditional is not used as frequently as the others, but it is still a good one to know. In this case we are talking about an unreal past (something in the past that didn’t happen) and the result of that condition.

“If I hadn’t drunk so much last night I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning.”


We use past perfect for the condition (“If + had + participle”) since we are talking about a completed event in the past that doesn’t affect the present. In the main clause we have our modal (would, wouldn’t, might, may…)+ have + past participle.

Wow, I know this one sounds complicated. Just think of it as two fake stories in the past.

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night…”


Fake past, didn’t happen. I actually drank a lot.

“I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning”


Fake past, didn’t happen. I did have a hangover.


The third conditional is often used to express regret :

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night I wouldn’t have lost my phone”

or to admonish others

“If you had studied for the test you wouldn’t have failed.”

“If” Part 3- Second Conditional

Second Conditional – Fantasy

The Second Conditional deals with if-clauses that are unreal. We use it for hypothetical situations, unlikely situations or impossible situations.

Hypothetical: “What would I do, if I lived until I was 130 years old?”


Unlikely: “If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.”


Impossible: “If I were an animal, I would be a tiger.”



These sentences are not facts like zero conditional (I have never had this exact experience) and they are not predictions like first conditional (I don’t think these things are likely to happen).

The Second conditional is just fantasy. The “if” part is always something that is not true right now.

The Second conditional looks like it is in past tense, but it actually isn’t. It is in the “subjunctive mood”. It’s a little complicated, but just know that the Subjunctive isn’t talking about past, present or future – it is just a fantasy situation with no relation to time. It looks almost exactly like past tense, except that the be-verb is always “were” (never “was”).

Zero Conditional

“If I win the lottery I buy a car” = fact =  this person has won the lottery many times, and every time they did they bought a car. This sounds strange.

First Conditional

“If I win the lottery I will buy a car” = prediction = this person has probably bought a lottery ticket and thinks they will win in the future.

Second Conditional

“If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.” = fantasy = This person hasn’t won the lottery, they are just having a fantasy thought.


“If” Part 2 – First Conditional

First Conditional – Predictions

The 1st conditional is very common, we use it for situations that are likely to occur. As with all conditionals there are two parts: the conditional clause and the main clause. The conditional clause will start with the word “if”.

If I drop my phone, it will break.”

drop phone 4.jpg

“If I drop my phone” is the condition. You are saying that if that happens then the result will be the main clauseIt will break.

“If I drop my phone” is in present tense because you are talking about a real action that could happen now.

The result is in future tense, because we think that result will happen after.

Unlike the zero conditional, which states general facts or results that are always true, the first conditional deals with specific incidents. These situations haven’t happened yet, but they are possible and likely.

Zero Conditional:

When I drop my phone it breaks.” = “Every time I drop this phone it always breaks” = I have experienced dropping this same phone in the past, and so I know what the result will be.


First conditional:

If I drop my phone, it will break.” = “If I drop my phone now, it will break as a result” = I have never dropped this phone, but based on my knowledge (similar experience, logic etc.) I think I know what will happen.



The main clause uses future tense because that’s what we use for likely events.

I will go swimming tomorrow.” This hasn’t happened- but it is a likely plan.

“If it doesn’t rain, I will go swimming tomorrow.” We have the same sentence, but now with a condition.

“If” Part 1 – Zero Conditional

In English there are many times we use the word “if”. These sentences are called “conditionals”.

There are four types:

  1. Zero Conditional

“If I drink too much coffee I can’t sleep”

drink coffee 5.jpg

  1. First Conditional

“If I drop my phone it will break”

drop phone 4.jpg

  1. Second Conditional

“If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.”

lotto 6.jpg

  1. Third Conditional

“If I hadn’t drunk so much last night I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning.”

drink 6.jpg


All of these sentences have two parts. There is the conditional (the “if” part) and the result.

The order doesn’t matter.

“If I drop my phone it will break” is the same as “My phone will break if I drop it.”

All of these conditionals have different meanings. We will look at them one by one

Zero Conditional – Facts

“If I drink too much coffee I can’t sleep”

drink coffee 5

In this sentence we have the condition “If I drink too much coffee” then we have the result “I can’t sleep.”

The condition is in present tense. The result is in present tense.

In English we use present tense for things that are always true (“I am Canadian”) or things that happen again and again regularly (I exercise everyday).

Zero conditional sentences aren’t really conditionals. They are basically just facts. You don’t even need to use the word “if”. You can replace it with “when”, “whenever” or “every time”.

If I watch that movie I cry.

When I watch that movie I cry.

Every time I watch that movie I cry.

We use this grammar when we have experienced something in the past and it was true, so we think that it will be true always. You are not talking about the future, or a plan, you are just stating a fact.


Next time: First Conditional

Hear and Listen


“Do you hear that noise? I think the neighbors got a new dog.”

“You should listen to my advice, I’ve done this before.”

Hear” and “Listen” are two very similar words that have to do with our auditory senses.

Hear” is very basic, it just means to notice a sound. It is very passive.

“My father is hard of hearing.” (he can’t notice sounds well)

Listen” could be defined as Hear and understand/process”. It is an active skill. You are paying attention.

“I had to listen to my professor lecture for two hours.”

The student hears the professor and uses his brain to try to understand the information.

“I love listening to music.”

You not only notice a sound, you pay attention and enjoy it.
This is very different from:


“I hear music”

which means you notice that there is music, as a sound, but you are not trying to process and enjoy it.

“Are you listening to me?”

Might be something a parent or friend asks if it looks like you’re not paying attention.

“Can you hear me?”

would be something said over a bad phone connection. You are asking if their ears can notice the sound of your voice.