ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS
- An adjective is a word or set of words that modifies(i.e., describes) a noun or pronoun. Adjectives may come before the word they modify.
That is a cute puppy.
She likes a high school senior.
- Adjectives may also follow the word they modify:
That puppy looks cute.
The technology is state-of-the-art.
- An adverb is a word or set of words that modifies verb, adjectives, or other adverbs. Adverbs answer how, when, where, why, or to what extent-how often or how much (e.g., daily, completely).
- He speaks slowly ( tells how)
- He speaks very slowly (the adverb very tells how slowly)
- She arrived today (tells when)
- She will arrive in an hour (this adverb phrase tells when)
- Let’s go outside (tells where)
- We looked in the basement (this adverb phrase tells where)
- Bernie left to avoid trouble ( this adverb phrase tells why)
- Jorge works out strenuously (tells yo what extent)
- Jorge works out whenever possible ( this adverb phrase tells to what extent)
Rule 1.Many adverbs end in -ly, but many do not. Generally, if a word can have -ly added to its adjective form, place it there to form an adverb.
She thinks quick/ quickly.
How does she think? Quickly.
She is a quick/quickly thinker.
Quick is an adjective describing thinker, so no -ly is attached.
She thinks fast/ fastly.
Fast answers the question how, so it is an adverb. But fast never have -ly attached to it.
We performed bad/ badly.
Badly describes how we performed, so -ly is added.
Rule 2.Adverbs that answer the question how sometimes cause grammatical problems. It can be a challenge to determine if -ly should be attached. Avoid the trap of -ly with linking verbs such as taste, smell, look, feel, which pertain to the senses. Adverbs are often misplaced in such sentences, which require adjectives instead.
- Roses smell sweet/ sweetly.
Do the roses actively smell with noses? No; in this case, the smell is a linking verb;____ which requires an adjective to modify roses ______ so no -ly.
- The woman looked angry/ angrily to us.
Did the woman look with her eyes, or are we describing her appearance? We are describing her appearance ( she appeared angry). So no -ly.
- The women looked angry/ angrily at the paint splotches.
Here the women actively looked ( used her eyes), so the -ly is added.
- She feels bad/badly about the news.
She is not feeling with fingers, so no -ly.
Rule 3. The word good is an adjective, whose adverb equivalent as well.
- You did a good job. ( Good describes the job.)
- You did the job well. ( Well answers how.)
Rule 4. The word well can be an adjective, too. When referring to health. We often use well rather than good.
- You do not look well today. ( I don’t feel well, either.)
Rule 5. Adjectives come in three forms, also called degrees. An adjective in its normal or usual form is called a positive degree adjective. There are also the comparative and superlative degrees, which are used for comparison, as in the following examples:
|efficient||more efficient||most efficient|
A common error in using adjectives and adverbs arises from using the wrong form of comparison. To compare two things, always use a comparative adjective:
Example: She is the cleverer of the two women ( never cleverest)
The word cleverest is what is called the superlative form of clever. Use it only when comparing three or more things:
Example: She is the cleverest of them all.
Incorrect: Chocolate or vanilla: which do you like best?
Correct: Chocolate or vanilla: which do you like better?
Rule 6.There are also three degrees of adverbs. In formal usage, do not drop the -ly from an adverb when using the comparative form.
Incorrect: She spoke quicker than he did.
Correct: She spoke more quickly than he did.
Incorrect: Talk quieter.
Correct: Talk more quietly.
Rule7. When this, that, these, and those are followed by a noun, they are adjectives. When they appear without a noun following them, they are pronouns.
- This house is for sale. ( This is an adjective)
- This is for sale.( This is a pronoun.)