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Use of Adjectives and Adverbs


Adjectives are words that are used to modify (identify, describe or limit) a noun.  Adverbs are words that are used to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

1)  ADJECTIVES - used to describe the condition of subjects.

         · The time they had together was short.
· He took all reasonable measures to mitigate the loss.

a)     Comparison AdjectivesThough there are some unmodified adjectives that are used for comparisons (i.e. best, better) many adjectives form the comparative of persons or things by adding er or est to the word or by prefixing the adjective with words such as: more, most, less, or least.
Comparison Adjective examples:

·  John is the best athlete on the team.
·  Last year’s crop grew higher than this year’s.  
·  Her new car is better than that old one she drove.
·  He was the greatest boss I ever had.
·  My utilities are less expensive than yours.
·  By far, he is the most successful salesperson in the company.

b)     Proper Adjectives – are descriptive adjectives derived from proper nouns. Capitalize proper adjectives.

·  American history
·  French cuisine

c)     ‘Senses’ verbs need adjectives: (look, smell, taste, feel, sound) - these adjectives indicate the quality or condition of the subject through the senses.

·  His eyes always look cheerful.
·  This food tastes delicious.
·  The flowers smell nice.   

2)     ADVERBS are used to explain the actions of verbs.

·  The siren sounded loudly, waking the troops.
·  She waited by the telephone patiently.

a)     Placement of Adverbs – An adverb should be placed as near as possible to the word it modifies as the position of it affects the meaning of the sentence.

·  John only nominated Bates for chairman.  (...meaning he didn’t vote for him)
·  John nominated only Bates for chairman   (...meaning he didn’t nominate anyone else)

b)     Unnecessary Adverbs – should be avoided.

·  He asked her to repeat it.  (not repeat it again’)
·  They returned home.  (not returned back home’)
·  We will divide the proceeds at the end.  (not divide up the proceeds’)

Some words have the same form whether they are used as adjectives or adverbs.

·  (Adjective) - That is a fast speedboat.
·  (Adverb) -  He stood up so fast he knocked his chair over. 
·  (Adjective) -  The ground was hard like a rock.
·  (Adverb) -  They all worked hard to meet the project deadline. 

Some words have two forms and can be used as adjectives or adverbs.

              ·  (Adjective) - His instructions were clear to us all.
·  (Adverb) -  She clearly understood the instructions.
·  (Adjective) -  She is a slow driver.
·  (Adverb) -  Please go slow around that curve.
·  (Adverb) -  He drove slowly up the hill.

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