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Problems with Adjectives and Adverbs

Grammar Tutorial


Adjectives and adverbs are modifiers but they modify different kind of words. Usually adjectives and adverbs are formed in different ways. By knowing how they are formed, you can be sure to use them correctly. Mostly, adverbs are formed with the ending 'ly'

Adjectives: loud screaming, warm clothes, beautiful painting

Adverbs: scream loudly, warmly dressed, beautifully painted

As you see above, the adjectives--loud, warm, beautiful--change to adverbs with an 'ly' added to the end of each one. Some adverbs are formed in other ways. If the adjective ends in:

'll' add only a 'y'; full becomes fully.

'y' change the 'y' to 'i' and add 'ly'; happy becomes happily

'le' change the 'le' to 'ly'; horrible becomes horribly

'ic' add 'al' before adding 'ly'; frantic becomes frantically


Some adjectives and adverbs have the same form. The list below shows some of them. Note especially that words ending with 'ly' are not always adverbs.

Adjectives and Adverbs with the same form:













Remember that there is always not an adverb for every adjective. See adjectives and adverbs as the same words

Problems with Adjectives and Adverbs:

Adverbs can often be moved around in a sentence without changing the meaning or making the sentence unclear.

Listening to jazz relaxes me slowly.

I am relaxed when I listen to jazz slowly.

Sometimes putting an adverb in the wrong position can change the meaning of a sentence. Compare the meaning of these two sentences:

Leyla actually told me that they eat raw fish.

Leyla told me that they actually eat raw fish.

When an adverb is placed too far from the word it modifies, it can make the meaning of the sentence unclear.

I'll just give you an hour to finish your work.

A reader may wonder exactly what is meant in this sentence. Moving the adverb just to the right position will make it clear.

I'll give you just an hour to finish your work.



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