What are adjectives?
Adjectives are descriptive words which are used to add detail to a sentence. They can give important or necessary information (e.g. Please hand me the blue paper), or they can just make the sentence more interesting or detailed (e.g. A frigid, icy, painfully cold wind blew around the town). Adjectives modify (describe) nouns.
Adjectives can usually be identified by asking what:
The girl is beautiful.
What is the girl? She’s beautiful.
Uses of adjectives
There are many different adjective endings including "-ive," "-ous," "-y," "-ful," "-ent" and many others. "Attractive," "envious," "lazy," "beautiful," and "intelligent" are all adjectives.
Adjectives can be used to modify nouns.
• Jimmy rides a motorcycle.
• Marinka cooks delicious pancake.
Adjectives often follow linking verbs (described below).
• Richman is slim.
• Alona seems angry.
Adjectives can tell the reader how much – or how many – of something you’re talking about, which thing you want passed to you, or which kind you want.
Please use three white flowers in the arrangement.
Three and white are modifying flowers.
If you are using multiple adjectives which are commonly put together, there’s no need for a comma between the adjectives.
Look at that sweet little puppy!
If the adjectives aren’t usually used together, separate them with a comma or conjunction.
I’m looking for a small, good-tempered dog to keep as a pet.
My new dog is small and good-tempered.
Adjectives usually go before the noun (e.g. small child) unless one of the following verbs are involved: be, feel, taste, smell, sound, look, appear, seem. In these cases, the adjectives work more like adverbs.
The child is small.
The child seems small.
Adjectives: -ed or -ing? English contains numerous -ed or -ing adjective pairs derived from verbs. To avoid mixing these up, remember that the -ed adjectives are used to describe how you feel, and the -ing adjectives are used for what it is that makes you feel that way. Here are some examples:
• I feel tired. - Working in the garden all day is very tiring.
• I am bored. - This grammar lesson is boring.
• She was disappointed. - Her math test score was disappointing.
• I'm interested in Ancient Egypt. - I think Ancient Egypt isinteresting.
• He was shocked. - He found your behaviour shocking.
• I'm very confused by this film. - This film is very confusing.
After certain verbs (e.g. be, become, seem, look, taste, smell, etc.) the adjective, not the adverb, is used:
She doesn't seem happy today.
Don't be stupid!
This meat tastes bad.
Those flowers smell strange.
What are adverbs?
Adverbs are descriptive words which are used to add detail to a sentence. They can give important or necessary information (e.g. Please hand me the scalpel now), or they can just make the sentence more interesting or detailed (e.g. A wind blew violently andunceasingly around the town). Adverbs usually modify verbs, and they frequently end in ‑ly.
Uses of adverbs
[adjective + ly]
There are also irregular adverbs such as "well" and "fast."
Adverbs can be used to modify verbs.
• Richman walked slowly towards the door.
• Siera sat silently waiting for Rani to speak first.
Adverbs can be used to modify adjectives.
• The flower was impressively beautiful.
• The skirt was outrageously expensive.
Adverbs can be used to modify other adverbs.
• Risa spoke extremely confidently.
• The horse ran incredibly quickly.
The adverb doesn’t have to go after the verb; feel free to vary the sentence structure to make it more interesting for your reader:
Silently, the girl snuck past her parents’ room.
Adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs.
The dog ran fairly quickly.
The adverb fairly is modifying the other adverb quickly.
The weather report is almost always right.
The adverb almost is modifying the adverb always.
The woman is quite pretty.
The adverb quite is modifying the adjective pretty.
This book is more interesting than the last one.
The adverb more is modifying the adjective interesting.
Adjective or adverb?
In English most (but not all) adverbs have a different form (spelling) than their corresponding adjective. It is important, therefore, that you know whether you need an adjective or an adverb in the sentences you want to say or write. Generally, adjectives are used to describe nouns and adverbs are used with verbs to say howthings are done. In the following examples, the adjectives are puple and the adverbs are pink:
He's a beautiful singer. - He sings beautifully.
She's a very quick runner. - She can run very quickly.
He's a careless writer. - He writes carelessly.
She's a good worker. - She works well.
Adverbs are also used to give extra information about adjectives (or other adverbs), as in the following examples:
I am extremely happy in my new job.
She's in hospital with a seriously injured neck.
It's incredibly easy to make a mistake when knitting.
The girl climbed dangerously high up the tree.
Because of the thick fog I drove extremely carefully.