Unit 12: Moving and migration
Present perfect with 'for' and 'since'
Select a unit
- 1 Nice to meet you!
- 2 What to wear
- 3 Like this, like that
- 4 The daily grind
- 5 Christmas every day
- 6 Great achievers
- 7 The Titanic
- 8 Travel
- 9 The big wedding
- 10 Sunny's job hunt
- 11 The bucket list
- 12 Moving and migration
- 13 Welcome to BBC Broadcasting House
- 14 New Year, New Project
- 15 From Handel to Hendrix
- 16 What's the weather like?
- 17 The Digital Revolution
- 18 A detective story
- 19 A place to live
- 20 The Cult of Celebrity
- 21 Welcome to your new job
- 22 Beyond the planets
- 23 Great expectations!
- 24 Eco-tourism
- 25 Moving house
- 26 It must be love
- 27 Job hunting success... and failure
- 28 Speeding into the future
- 29 Lost arts
- 30 Tales of survival
Have you ever moved home or from a building you loved? In 2012, the BBC World Service left its home at Bush House to move to a new building. In this session, you'll hear BBC staff remembering our emotional move and learn some useful vocabulary to talk about experiences like this.
So in this session we've heard all about Bush House, where the BBC World Service broadcast until 2012. They talked about working at Bush House and what they liked and didn't like about it. Yuri Goligorsky, who has worked for the Russian Service, talked about the carpets. He said they were worn out and undignified. This means they're probably old as well.
But how would we use these adjectives with the noun carpet? Which of these has the correct adjective order?
- old, worn-out, undignified carpets
- worn-out, undignified, old carpets
- undignified, old, worn-out carpets
Listen to 6 Minute Vocabulary, and you'll also hear about adjectives you could use to describe this dog!
Listen to the audio
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me Finn...
And me Catherine. And today's show is all about adjective order.
Adjectives - yes, those useful words we use to describe things. We'll look at what adjective order is - and how to use it.
There'll be a nice, easy quiz...
And we'll leave you with a small, but meaningful tip for learning vocabulary.
So: let's start off with Nikki and Joe who are talking in a furniture shop.
Here's a question to think about while you listen: what did Nikki's grandparents have?
What did Nikki's grandparents have? Let's find out.
Joe! Come and sit on this sofa!
It's really uncomfortable.
I know... but I've always wanted a big, old, leather sofa. My grandparents had one when I was little.
That's not a good reason to buy a horrible sofa! The one with the stripy blue cotton cushions looks a lot nicer.
Maybe... Ooh what's this... Look, a beautiful green and blue Turkish kilim!
Kilim? Oh, a little carpet. Sofas first, Nikki.
So, that's Joe and Nikki. And we asked you: what did Nikki's grandparents have?
And the answer is: they had a big, old, leather sofa.
That's right. And the phrase a big, old, leather sofa is our first example of adjective order.
Now, when we use two or more adjectives together to describe a noun, the order we put them in is important. For example, we don't usually say an old, leather, big sofa.
So for our sofa example, first it's size - so big, then age - old, and then material - leather. A big, old, leather sofa.
So that's size, age, and material type. And each new adjective in the list needs to go in the right place.
For example, colour goes between age and material type. So we can say: a big, old, red, leather sofa.
Now some people find it difficult to remember the adjective order...
But there's a good tip which is: the adjective with the meaning most closely related to the noun goes nearest to it.
And in our example, the material type - leather - is most closely connected to the noun. Big, old and red are more general. So: big, old, red, leather sofa. Another one please, Finn?
Blue stripy cotton cushions.
So colour - blue, quality - stripy, and material type - cotton. Blue stripy cotton cushions.
And Nikki got very excited about a beautiful green and blue Turkish kilim.
Did she? I can understand that.
Yes. So it's a beautiful green and blue Turkish kilim. There we had opinion: beautiful, and then colours: green and blue, we had two colours joined by 'and', and then country: Turkish.
You're listening to BBC Learning English.
And we're talking about adjective order. And you might have noticed that we used some adjectives at the beginning of the programme.
We had nice, easy quiz - with two opinion adjectives. Easy has a closer connection to the noun quiz than nice. So we put easy next to the noun. A nice easy quiz.
A nice, easy quiz. And another one: a small, but meaningful tip.
We can put 'but' between adjectives when they seem a bit unusual next to each other. Like small, but meaningful.
Strange, but true, eh, Catherine?
Indeed. Nothing strange about vocabulary. So let's hear today's examples again. First, size, age, colour, and material.
Big, old, red, leather sofa.
And leather has the strongest connection to the noun. Next, colour, quality, and material.
Blue stripy cotton cushions.
And opinion, colour, and country.
Beautiful green and blue Turkish kilim.
Right. And now it's quiz time. Put these adjectives in the right order. Number 1. I love my ... old, smelly, big dog.
Right: I love my big, old, smelly dog.
Good. Number 2. This is a ... Moroccan, simple, but delicious recipe.
This is a simple, but delicious, Moroccan recipe.
Very good. And that brings us almost to the end of the programme.
But before we go, here's that tip we promised you, and it's a game this time. Now, this is a game to play with a friend to practise describing things. Think of a noun but don't tell your friend what it is. Then give adjective clues to help them guess the noun.
Good game. Do you want to play?
Let's give it a go.
Brilliant. There's more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.
So, to describe the carpets in Bush House we should say they are undignified, old, worn-out carpets. This is because the adjective order is opinion first, then age and then quality.
And it's a big, old, smelly dog!
Vocabulary points to take away
Adjective order can be tricky, so it's useful to note down some examples. Writing adjectives before a noun, separated by categories, can be a good way to help you to remember the order. Here are some examples:
Size - age - colour - material:
A big old red leather sofa
Opinion - colour - material:
Some lovely pink and white silk curtains
Size - age - quality:
A big old smelly dog
You can find more examples in the transcript download for this 6 Minute Vocabulary. Click here to download it (size: 325KB)
End of Session
That's it for Session 1. We hope you enjoyed hearing about an important BBC building. In the next session we'll start to look at the grammar we can use to talk about these experiences: the present perfect with the words for and since. And we'll hear from two current employees of the BBC World Service. See you then!
a material made from the skin of a dead animal
a type of seat with a back and arms, big enough for two or more people
a type of carpet or rug made in Turkey and surrounding areas
striped, patterned with stripes
a type of fabric made from fibers that grow on cotton plants
a set of instructions for preparing a dish, including the ingredients needed