How to use English Adjectives – Fact or Opinion? (PDF + video)

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion

In English, we use adjectives to describe nouns. The adjective we use can be a FACT (red) or an OPINION (beautiful).

  • A fact is – a thing that is known to be true, especially when it can be proved
  • An opinion is – your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact

When we combine fact and opinion adjectives in front of a noun, we put the opinion adjective first and the fact adjective second.

Definitions from

Link for the 20-page English Adjectives Fact or Opinion PDF at the bottom of this post.
Watch the video version of the post too and improve your English listening skills!

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion – Fact adjectives

Remember a fact adjective is a thing that known to be true. DEFINITION Things that most people understand and accept. Things like:

Fact adjectives – Color

“I’m wearing a yellow shirt.”
The adjective yellow is a fact. People understand and agree on what the color yellow means.

“The sky is blue today.”
The adjective blue is a fact. 


Patterns are also fact adjectives. People understand and agree on what a pattern represents.

“Candice is wearing a blue and white striped shirt.”

The adjective striped is understood by everyone to mean a pattern of long narrow lines of color that are different than the areas next to it.

“Mark is wearing a polka-dot tie today.”

This means a tie with many small round marks that together form a pattern.

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion
pattern adjectives

Other pattern words in English

printed or woven in a pattern of squares
a checkered pattern or design consists of squares in two or more different colors. 
*Checked and checkered are often used to describe the same pattern.

consisting of straight lines that cross one another

with the same color, pattern, or design

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion
pattern adjectives

using different shades of a single color

decorated or covered with a pattern of spots. Very similar to polka-dot.

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion
pattern adjectives

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Fact adjectives – Age

“Christian is 37 years old.”
Christian’s age is a fact.

“I just bought a 1972 Chevy Impala.”
This car was made in 1972, this is NOT my opinion.

Fact adjectives – Origin
(where someone/something is from)

French food is my favorite.”
In this sentence, the adjective French tells us where my favorite is from. This is a fact.

“My English teacher is Canadian.”

“I really enjoy Brazilian music.”

Fact adjectives – Shape

“These sunglasses are round.”

People understand and agree on what the shape round means.

“This watch has a square bezel.”

bezel [noun] a ring with a long narrow cut around the inside, used to hold something in place, such as the cover of a watch or mobile phone

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion
This watch has a square bezel.

Shapes as adjectives

Here are some basic shape nouns and their adjective forms.
(Click the adjective to hear the correct pronunciation)

square – square
circle – round/circular
triangle – triangular
rectangle – rectangular

round and square - shapes as adjectives
triangular and rectangular - shapes as adjectives

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion – Opinion adjectives

Remember an opinion adjective is your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact. DEFINITION

Opinion adjectives are relative to each person. Things like:

Opinion adjectives – Size

“A big dog lives next door.”

“This cafe is tiny.”

“Lisa’s engagement ring has a huge diamond!”

We might feel like adjectives that describe the size of something are facts. Remember people can have different ideas of adjectives like big and small or tall and short for example.

Adjectives like this can be relative.

Relative means that the word has a different meaning or a different level depending on how you compare it.

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion
Adjectives like warm and cold are relative.

Each person may have a different point of comparison or a different experience to compare it to.

Alaska is usually cold but Salvador is usually hot. The words warm and cool are relative to people in those places.

So The meaning of adjectives like tall and short can be related to, or “relative” to each person.

“William is 165cm tall.”
An exact measurement, of course, is a fact.

Larry is 138cm tall and Jesse is 206cm tall.

Larry might think that William is tall but Jesse thinks that William is short.

Size comparison is often used in comparison to other things in general.

This means if we think of William’s height (165cm) compared to other people in general, he is average. In that same general comparison, Larry is short (in general) and Jesse is tall (in general).

Learn more about English comparison grammar HERE.

Opinion adjectives – Cool, Awesome, Terrible etc.

“Those sunglasses are cool.”
They are cool to me. This is my opinion.

“I like Jason Mamoa, I think he’s cool.”

“This restaurant is terrible.”
I think it’s terrible, but someone else might like it.

“I drove downtown last night. Parking downtown is terrible on the weekend!”

“That car is awesome.”
This is my opinion, it’s my feeling. Someone else’s feeling might be different.

“The movie was awesome! I can’t wait to buy it on DVD!”

Common adjectives like pretty\ugly or good\bad are opinions.

English Adjectives Fact or Opinion GRAMMAR

It’s common in English conversation to use combinations of adjectives.

 When we combine fact and opinion adjectives in front of a noun, we will put the opinion adjective first and the fact adjective second

“Richard just bought an awesome red car. I’m jealous!”
Awesome is an opinion adjective so it is used first in our sentence. Red is a fact adjective so it is used second.

“There is a terrible new restaurant on Main street, I don’t recommend it.”
Terrible is an opinion, new is a fact.

“I saw some cool round sunglasses at the mall yesterday. They were $300.00!”
Cool is an opinion, round is a fact.

The concert was amazing! The band puts on a great live show!
Great is an opinion, live is a fact.

This is the usual order we use adjectives in English.

Amount or number (Numbers come first even though they are facts)
Size (opinions are relative – everyone is different)
Age (fact)
Shape / texture (fact)
Color (fact)

“There were 3 cute little furry black puppies in the park today.”

This order is correct… BUT

As a lifelong native English speaker, I can tell you from experience that there is an exception with the order of size and opinion adjectives.

When we use the size adjectives like big, huge, etc., especially with negative adjectives of opinion, the order changes.

Here are two common exceptions.

“I saw a big ugly spider in the basement.”
In this sentence size comes before opinion.

BIG and UGLY are often used like this. LITTLE and UGLY are not used in this order.

“My aunt had an ugly little dog named Pedro. I don’t know why she liked him so much.”

These sentences don’t follow the same pattern, but they are both natural to my native ear!

“There was a huge ugly rat in my uncle’s garage. It was scary.”

Sometimes with size and positive adjectives of opinion too.

“When I lived in Canada, my neighbor had a big beautiful golden retriever. That dog was so smart!”

I hope you never see any big ugly things so you never have to use this grammar!

Can you think of other exceptions to this rule?

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