How to Use Fact and Opinion Adjectives (Free 20-page PDF)

We use adjectives to modify the nouns in our story. I’ll show you how to use Fact and Opinion Adjectives correctly in this post with rules and natural examples that you can use right away in your own English conversations.

When adjectives are combined to describe a noun they will follow an order. Adjectives that are an opinion will come before adjectives that are facts.
“Gene just bought a cool red convertible. I hope he takes me for a ride.” 
Cool is an opinion adjective and red is a fact adjective.

You will find lots of helpful examples, images, and more in this post. I made this to be the best resource for English students on the web to take your English to the next level.

What is a fact adjective?

A fact is a thing that is known to be true, especially when it can be proved

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Fact adjectives describe things like color, pattern, shape, age, material, origin, etc. These are points that are generally agreed upon and accepted by everyone.
– He was riding a 1996 German motorcycle with a blue, metal gas tank. (1996, German, blue, and metal are all fact adjectives.)

Fact Adjectives

Color
Red, Yellow, Blue. Orange, Green, Purple, etc.

Pattern
Stripes, Polka dot, Checkered, Criss-cross, Monochrome, Spotted, etc.

Shape
Circular, Triangular, Rectangular, Square, Diamond, etc.

Age
How old – 10 years, 40 years, etc.
When was it made – 1952, 1977,  2006, etc.

Material
Wooden, Aluminum, Plastic, Stone, Gold (Golden) Silver, etc.

Origin
Country or place

Examples of 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

  • 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.

More patterns

Checked – printed or woven in a pattern of squares

Checkered – 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.

  • A race finishes with a checkered flag. 

Criss-cross – consisting of straight lines that cross one another

  • If you were a lovely silver dress with a criss-cross back.

Matching – with the same color, pattern, or design

  • Their mother often dresses the twins in matching clothes.

Monochrome – using different shades of a single color

  • Monochrome suits are very popular this year. They’re perfect for formal and casual situations. 

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

  • The leopard is a beautiful spotted cat that lives in Africa, Western and Central Asia, and Southern Russia.

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 places, such as the cover of a watch or mobile phone http://english.oxforddictionaries.com/bezel

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.

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.

Material 

(What something is made of) 

  • Aluminum cans are easier to recycle than plastic bottles. 

Aluminum and plastic are used as adjectives here to describe what the cans and bottles are made from. These are facts.

  • We just bought a beautiful wooden coffee table for our living room. 

The adjective wooden means made of wood. This is a fact. If you’d like to learn more about adjectives that end with the suffix en check out my blog post here: The Suffix EN – Your Best Guide (free PDF download)

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

What is an Opinion adjective?

An opinion is your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Opinion adjectives describe what we think or how we feel about someone or something. They describe experiences we receive from our senses and ideas we shape from our experiences. They are different for each person so they become opinions, not facts.
– Leslie is an amazing dancer. I also think she is gorgeous. (Amazing and gorgeous are both opinion adjectives.)

Opinion adjectives

Here are some common opinion adjectives we use to describe what we experience with our five senses.

Things we see, smell, hear, touch, and taste

  • beautiful, gorgeous, cute, sexy
  • hideous, ugly, disgusting, repulsive
  • fragrant/stinky
  • loud/quiet
  • smooth, rough, fuzzy, soft
  • delicious, tasty
  • terrible, awful 

How we value things

  • good/bad
  • great/terrible
  • exciting/boring 
  • valuable/worthless
  • important/unimportant
  • necessary/unnecessary

Opinion Adjective Example sentences

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


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

Adjectives of Size – Fact or opinion?

Adjectives that describe the size of something can be both fact and opinion. People can have different ideas of adjectives like big and small or tall and short.

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. Opinion adjectives are relative to each person. 

Here is an example of the relative adjectives warm and cool: 

  • 14°C feels warm to people living in Alaska but cool to people who live in Salvador, Brazil. 
Some Adjectives can be relative

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

Size adjectives as an opinion 

The meaning of adjectives like tall and short can also be relative to each person. 

  • William is 165cm tall, Larry is 138cm tall and Jesse is 206cm tall.

Exact measurements, of course, are facts.

  • Larry might think that William is tall but Jesse does not.

Size adjectives as a fact 

Size comparison is often used in comparison to other things in general. This use is a fact, it’s generally agreed on by most people.

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).

Here are some examples of fact adjectives that are true in general 

  • A big dog lives next door. (The dog is big compared to other dogs in general.)  

  • This cafe is tiny. (The cafe is very small compared to other cafes in general.)

  • Lisa’s engagement ring has a huge diamond! (The diamond is very big compared to most other diamonds.)

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 opinionnew is a fact.

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

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

This is the usual order we use adjectives in English.

1 Amount or number (Numbers come first even though they are facts)
2 Opinion
3 Size (opinions are relative – everyone is different)
4 Age (fact)
5 Shape / texture (fact)
6 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.”

It is natural to put the opinion before the size when we use the adjective little. 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? Tell me in the comments (click HERE)

20-page Adjectives Fact or Opinion e-Guide

Get the 20-page e-Guide FREE!
Click below.

Adjectives Fact or Opinion VIDEO

Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills!

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: