Deciphering the Position of Adjectives: Unraveling Their Placement in Sentences


In the intricate fabric of language, the position of adjectives holds a pivotal role in shaping the meaning and structure of sentences. Understanding where adjectives should be placed within a sentence is essential for clear and effective communication. This article delves into the nuances of adjective placement, exploring the rules and conventions that govern their positioning in relation to nouns.

Pre-Nominal vs. Post-Nominal Adjectives

Adjectives can generally be categorized into two main types based on their position in a sentence: pre-nominal adjectives and post-nominal adjectives.

  1. Pre-Nominal Adjectives: Pre-nominal adjectives, also known as attributive adjectives, are positioned before the noun they modify. These adjectives provide essential descriptive information about the noun and typically answer questions like "What kind?" or "Which one?" For example:

    • The blue sky
    • A beautiful flower
    • Several eager students

  2. Post-Nominal Adjectives: Post-nominal adjectives, also known as predicative adjectives, follow the noun they modify and are often connected to the noun by a linking verb, such as "is," "seems," or "becomes." These adjectives provide additional information about the noun and are often used to express opinions, evaluations, or temporary states. For example:

    • The sky is blue.
    • The flower looks beautiful.
    • The students seem eager.

Determining Factors for Adjective Position

The position of adjectives in a sentence can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Sentence Structure: The structure of the sentence and the role of the adjective within it can determine whether it appears before or after the noun.
  • Degree of Subjectivity: Adjectives expressing subjective opinions or evaluations are more likely to appear after the noun.
  • Restrictiveness: Adjectives that narrow down or specify the noun they modify are often placed before the noun, while less restrictive adjectives may appear after the noun.
  • Emphasis: Adjective placement can also be used to emphasize certain qualities or characteristics.

Exceptions and Variations

While the general rule is that descriptive adjectives precede the noun they modify, there are exceptions and variations to this rule. Certain adjectives, particularly those related to age, size, shape, color, nationality, and material, commonly appear before the noun. However, adjectives related to opinion, evaluation, or temporary condition often follow the noun.


The placement of adjectives in a sentence plays a crucial role in conveying precise meaning and effectively describing nouns. By understanding the principles governing adjective position, speakers and writers can enhance the clarity and impact of their communication. Whether adorning nouns with descriptive details or offering evaluative judgments, mastering the art of adjective placement empowers individuals to craft compelling and nuanced expressions that resonate with their audience.