Last time we looked at verbs. If you missed it, click here for a refresher and to have a go at the quick quiz to test your knowledge. How did you get on?
An adjective is a word that is used to describe a noun, e.g. a red (adjective) apple (noun)
An adverb is a word which is typically used to give information about a verb, e.g. she carefully (adverb) put (verb) the plate down.
Most adjectives can be used in 2 positions:
- where they come before the noun they describe (called attributive)
e.g. a black cat
- where they come after the verb (called predicative)
e.g. the cat was black
I say this because there is an unwritten rule in the English language that says that adjectives in English must be used in the following order:
Opinion – Size – Age – Shape – Colour – Origin – Material – Purpose and then the Noun
So that means you could have:
“The amazing, big, old, long, red, English, wood-piercing spear”
Now, if you had them in any other order it just wouldn’t sound right, would it? So there’s another rule that I bet you didn’t know about yet you use it every day!
Adverbs, however, normally come between the subject and its verb, e.g.
- She (subject) carefully (adverb) avoided (verb) my eye
If you want to change the emphasis of a sentence you can move the adverb around, e.g.
- I will happily answer any questions (i.e. I will be happy to answer any questions)
- I will answer any questions happily (i.e. I will answer any questions in a happy way)
- Happily, I will answer any questions (i.e. it is fortunate that I will answer any questions)
Some adverbs refer to a whole statement and indicate the attitude of the speaker or writer rather than relating to what is said (known as ‘sentence adverbs’), e.g.
- Sadly, in 2002, they separated (i.e. it is sad that they separated in 2002)
- In 2002, they separated sadly (i.e. In 2002, they separated in a sad way)
Test your understanding of adjectives and adverbs with this quick quiz. Choose the correct word:
- He (correct, correctly) identified the answer.
- She was (quickly, quick) to adapt to the new situation.
- He measured the floor (exact, exactly). They proved to be (perfectly, perfect) (exact, exactly) measurements.
- I found the article very (interestingly, interesting). It was (beautiful, beautifully) written.
- Speak (softly, soft) inside the church.
- John knows how to do the work very (good, well). He always does a (good, well) job.
- His voice sounds (wonderful, wonderfully). He sang the piece (exact, exactly) as it was written.
- It was a (dangerous, dangerously) thing to do. He was (perilous, perilously) close to the edge of the cliff.
- He went to sleep (quickly, quick) but woke up (sudden, suddenly) when the alarm went off.
- John wrote very (slowly, slow) in the exam. He has always been a (slow, slowly) writer.
To see how you got on, click here for the answers.
If you’ve missed any of the previous parts of Grammar – Love it or Loathe it, select from the list below:
In the meantime, contact me if you would like to know more about how I could help you to overcome any fears or lack of confidence you may have about your writing.
Peter Clarke aka ‘The OopsProofer’
T: 07843 304743