Adjectives and adverbs form essential parts of writing. They’ll provide details to your piece of writing which you can’t accomplish by using merely nouns and verbs.
When you fill your writing with descriptive adverbs and adjectives, you’ll help your readers with creating mental images of the things you want to communicate.
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Adverbs and adjectives also make your piece of writing a lot more pleasant to read.
Here, in this lesson, we’ll talk about how you can identify adverbs and adjectives and how to use them correctly to create more interesting and detailed sentences.
What Are Adjectives?
An adjective is a word that modifies and describes a noun. This noun may be a thing, person, or place in a sentence.
Practically always, an adjective appears before the noun it describes in a sentence. For instance, in “the winding road,” the word winding is an adjective that describes the noun road. You see that the adjective “winding” provides a further description (or image) of how the road looks.
What Are Adverbs?
An adverb is a word that’s modifying and describing a verb, another adverb, or an adjective in a sentence. Adverbs tell you when, why, where, or in what sort of condition something happened or is happening.
- Adverbs that modify verbs: “He jumped quickly.” Quickly is the adverb describing how he jumped.
- Adverbs that modify adjectives: “She helped a very slow man to cross the street.” Very is the adverb describing how slow (note that slow is here the adjective) the man was.
- Adverbs that modify other adverbs: “The bank teller was speaking quite softly to the angry woman.” Quite is here the adverb that modifies another adverb, softly, explaining how softly our bank teller was speaking.
Many adverbs are ending in –ly, and this is often the way people learn to identify adverbs. Just look at happily, quickly, slowly. Bear in mind that there are also words ending with –ly that are actually adjectives and that there are adverbs that are not ending with –ly.
To see if a word is functioning as an adverb or an adjective, you should determine if the word describes a noun. If that’s the case, the word is an adjective. When that’s not the case, determine if the word describes an adjective, a verb, or an adverb. If that’s the case, the word is an adverb.
For instance, look at this word: short.
The short woman was surely the loudest.
Does “short” describe a noun or perhaps a verb? Well, it describes the noun woman. So here, short is an adjective.
The woman fell short of her goal.
Does “short” here describe a verb, a noun, an adjective, or an adverb? Well, in this sentence, it describes a verb: fell. So in this sentence, the word short is an adverb.
How do we use Adjectives and Adverbs?
Writers are using adverbs and adjectives to improve their writing and to make it far more descriptive. In technical reports, emails, instructions, academic essays, reflective writings, or blogs, writers who are using adverbs and adjectives appropriately are providing the readers with clearer images of what they try to convey to let them better understand their purpose for writing and the topic.
A few Examples
A: Read the following sentences and determine if the underlined word(s) is (are) adverbs or adjectives and which word(s) they are modifying.
- Numerous teachers are requiring the students to study in small groups.
Adjective. The word small is modifying a noun, groups.
- This is called “collaborative learning” which allows more students to learn the material very quickly.
Adverb. The word very is modifying an adverb, quickly.
- Mr. Johnston belongs to my least favorite teachers.
Adverb, The word least is modifying an adjective, favorite.
- She knew we would be learning when we worked more closely together.
Adverb. The word closely is modifying a verb, worked.
- We had to work very quickly and determinedly.
Adverbs. The words quickly and determinedly are modifying a verb, work.
- This project was among our best. We did earn the highest grade in our class.
Adjective. The word highest is modifying a noun, grade.
- Well, thankfully, we could work diligently to complete the project.
Adverb. The word diligently is modifying a noun, worked.
B: Okay, now let’s see how adverbs and adjectives can be added to these sentences to create far more detailed or clearer sentences.
- For students, working in groups may be difficult.
For introverted, quiet students, successfully working with small groups may be extremely difficult.
Adverbs. The word successfully is modifying a verb, working. The word extremely is modifying an adjective, difficult.
Adjectives. The word small is modifying a noun, groups. The words introverted and quiet are modifying a noun, students.
- There are indeed strategies that make things easier.
There are indeed numerous strategies that make things significantly easier.
Adverb. The word significantly is modifying an adjective, easier.
Adjective. The word numerous is modifying a noun, strategies.
- Students wishing to succeed need to communicate with others and complete their assignments.
Students wishing to succeed need to collaboratively communicate well with all others and always complete their assignments.
Adverb: The word collaboratively is modifying a verb, succeed. The word well is modifying a verb, communicate. The word always is modifying a verb, complete. Adjective: The word all is modifying a noun: others.