Online Tutor For English


Online Tutor For English

Go back to Grammar Subjects List


Adjectives that look alike adverbs


Mostly speaking, adverbs end with 'ly'. Below are the exception to this rule of thumb:

Adjectives ending in -ly

The following words can be used only as adjectives and not as adverbs:

beastly, costly, cowardly, deadly, friendly, likely, brotherly, kindly, leisurely, lovely, lively, womanly, princely, scholarly, silly, ugly and unlikely.

She offered some friendly advice. (The adjective "friendly" modifies the noun advice.)

There are no adverbs for the adjective friendly.   Instead we use an adverb phrase: She offered some advice in a friendly manner.

Examples for testing adverb and adjective usage of the same word:

The girl told her tale ___________. Use the word "fast".

Does the word "fast" modify the the verb "told"? The answer is: Yes, it does. So, "fast" in this sentence is used as an adverb.

Example for testing adjective usage: 

The ________ girl cried. Use the word "little".

Does the word "little" modify the noun "girl"? Yes, it does. Then the word "little" is used as an adjective.

Another way to tell an adverb from an adjective is its mobility

Adverbs are distinct in their ability to move away from the word they are modifying, whereas adjectives are attached to what they modify.


I frequently burn this yummy dish.

I burn this yummy dish frequently.

Frequently, I burn this yummy dish.

Now, while the adverb “frequently,” is mobile, the adjective “yummy” is not.  If “yummy” is placed anywhere in this sentence, besides directly in front of the noun it modifies, the sentence doesn't make sense.

Example:  Frequently, I burn this dish yummy.

So, distinguishing an adverb from an adjective can be done in three ways. 

1) Determine what the word is modifying, a noun or a verb. 

2) Test the word in a sentence before a noun or with a verb.

3) Check the mobility of the word. If you can move it in the sentence without losing the meaning, then that word is an adverb. If you can't, then the word is an adjective and should be placed before the noun.


© 2014 Copy Rights Reserved at Online Tutor For English

Online Resources Add Link

English Grammar

Articles, a-an, the

Adjectives and Adverbs

Appositives in Complete Sentence

Complete Sentence



Parts of Speech

Passive Voice


Parallel Structure


Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense


Irregular Verbs

English Writing Lessons

How to Write a Good Sentence

An Example of a Four-Paragraph Essay

An Example of a Three-Paragraph Essay

How to Write a Good Paragraph

How to Write a Business Letter

Examples of a Well-Written Paragraph

Steps to Write a Three-Paragraph Essay

How to Write a Good Main Topic Sentence

How to Write Good Supporting Sentences

Recommendations for Writing a Good Paragraph

Writing Resources

Advertise with us

Online Writing Tutorials 25 USD!

English Tutors Directory

English Tutor Plans

Spoken English Tutor, FAQ

English Writing Tutor, FA

Spoken English, Writing Program Online


English Conversation Lessons

English Writing Lessons

Business English

TOEFL Preparation

SAT English

Writing Service

Author Articles


We answer English Language Questions