Exceptions to adjectives being placed before nouns?

I’m slightly confused on this topic, because up until this point I was told that adjectives will ALWAYS come before the noun. i.e かわいい犬. And so far, that’s worked for me. BUT, I’ve come across a circumstance that seems to ignore this “rule”, and I’m a bit confused on it. What I’m talking about occurs when you’re talking about something you own, like having a small room. 俺の部屋はちょっと小さい。The adjective part, chiisai, comes after the noun that its describing, heya. I thought I’d ask here about this, because googling it gives me varying answers from adjectives “generally” being before nouns, or “always” being before nouns. So are you allowed to put adjectives in front of nouns? Or only in certain scenarios like the one I described about the small room?

Note the は in the second sentence, marking 俺の部屋 as the topic (and subject, in this case) of the sentence. ちょっと小さい is the predicate - as in, the information given about the subject. As such, 俺の部屋はちょっと小さい is a complete sentence meaning “my room is a bit small”.

かわいい犬 on the other hand is not a complete sentence, it’s simply a noun being modified by an adjective, forming a noun phrase.

In the case of a noun phrase consisting of a noun and one or more things modifying it, whether those are adjectives or verbs or entire sentences, the modifier comes before the noun. In the case of a complete sentence, the predicate comes at the end, hence why the adjective comes last in the complete sentence. I’m not entirely sure whether there are exceptions to this, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

It’s essentially the same in English in simple cases like these - it’s the difference between “this dog is cute” and “a cute dog”.


I see, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you!