If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head while trying to distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, worry not! You’re not alone! Adjectives and adverbs are fundamental parts of speech, and mastering them is essential for clear and effective communication in English. In this article on “Adjective vs. Adverb,” we’re going to explore the key differences between adjectives and adverbs, providing you with the knowledge you need to use them with confidence.
Adjective vs. Adverb
Difference between an adjective and an adverb:
An adjective is a word that describes or gives some information about a noun or pronoun. Kind, rude, beautiful, bad, quick, careful, nice, etc. are adjectives. Let’s say we have the noun “Car”. So, to describe it we can use words (adjectives) like beautiful, spacious, affordable, etc. We can say, “This car is beautiful, spacious, and affordable.”
On the other hand, an adverb is a word that describes the action of a verb. That means it tells us how something is done or how someone does/did something. This house was built carefully. Here in this sentence, “carefully” is the adverb that describes the verb “built.”
Usually, we add “-ly” to the end of an adjective to make it an adverb.
Adjective → Adverb
Nice → Nicely
Bad → Badly
Calm → Calmly
Quiet → Quietly
Difference between Adjectives and Adverbs
|She was quiet the whole time.||She was reading quietly.|
|John was careful while driving.||John drove carefully.|
|They were very nice to me.||They treated me nicely.|
|Today’s questions were easy.||They have solved all the questions easily.|
|It was a sudden decision.||She took that decision suddenly.|
Words ending in –ly are not always Adverbs
Some words in the English language that end with –ly are not usually adverbs. Such words come under adjectives.
Common examples of such adjectives are –
These words end with –ly. They all are adjectives but we do not use them as adverbs. For example; “Sophia smiled in a friendly way.” Not “
Sophia smiled friendly.”
Mr. Brown made a silly speech tonight.
This dress is too costly.
Lonely people need help.
How to spot an Adverb?
Usually, a word is an adverb if it has –ly at the end. However, that’s not always true, as we just saw that not all words ending with “-ly” are adverbs.
Most adjectives can work as adverbs in English sentences. Also, nouns can be used as adverbs in many situations. So, it becomes difficult sometimes to spot an adverb in a sentence. But, there is a hack to find if a word is an adverb or not. You just need to check if the word is the answer to the questions – How, When, and Where. If YES, it’s an adverb.
For instance, if you say, “My sister talks loudly.” Here, the word “loudly” is the answer to the question “talks how?”
Here are some more examples for you to understand it better.
- Joseph did it quickly. (Joseph did it how? – Quickly, it’s an adverb here)
- Can we discuss it tomorrow? (Discuss when? – Tomorrow, it’s an adverb here)
- You can’t catch him because he runs fast? (Runs how? – Fast, it’s an adverb here)
- She cannot go there. (Go where? – There, it’s an adverb here)
When not to use an Adverb?
You cannot use an adverb just after the linking/stative verbs such as feel, seem, look, appear, sound, taste, or smell. It should always be an adjective just after these verbs.
Susan looks sad today. Not “
Susan looks sadly today.”
Your father seems angry. Not “
Your father seems angrily.”
This plan sounds perfect. Not “
This plan sounds perfectly.”
This fruit tastes bad. Not “
This fruit tastes badly.”
In the above sentences sad, angry, perfect, and bad are adjectives. However, we can use adverbs with these verbs in a different sentence structure. For example, Susan looked at me sadly/happily/angrily.
Identical Adjectives and Adverbs
Now, let’s talk about the words that are considered to be both adjectives and adverbs. There are some words in English that can be used as both adjectives and adverbs. That means we do not need to make any spelling changes to convert them to adverbs or adjectives.
Examples of such words are:
Below are some of the example sentences where we have used such words as adjectives and adverbs…
- This is an early train. (Adjective)
The train came early today. (Adverb)
- They will examine your monthly progress. (Adjective)
I visit my parents monthly. (Adverb)
- It’s a daily weather report. (Adjective)
It rains here daily. (Adverb)
- Robert was late for the party. (Adjective)
Robert came late to my party yesterday. (Adverb)
Use of Most, More, and Less
The words “Most,” “More,” and “Less” can be used as an adjective and adverb both. Usually, if it is describing a noun, it’s an adjective. Otherwise, it’s an adverb.
Most people do not like to travel. (Adjective)
He made the most paintings in the world. (Adjective)
Which game did you like the most? (Adverb)
These things bother me the most. (Adverb)
Can you give me more time to complete this task? (Adjective)
You must read more to learn the language. (Adverb)
He took less time to figure out the solution. (Adjective)
I think you should talk less and work more. (Adverb)
Good vs. Well
Good is used as an adjective. “Your English is very good”. In this sentence, “Good” is an adjective referring to the noun “English.”
Well is used as an adverb. “You speak English very well.” In this sentence, “Well” is an adverb referring to the verb “speak. “
If you say, “Mr. Smith speaks English very good”, it will be an incorrect sentence. Why? Because here “good” is an adjective modifying the verb “speak” and as per English grammar an adjective cannot modify a verb. So, we need an adverb here. Therefore, the correct sentence would be, “Mr. Smith speaks English very well.”
See the table below to understand the difference between good and well…
|It was a good day.||The day went well.|
|His new song is good.||He sings very well.|
|Their team was good.||They played well but couldn’t win the game.|
|She is good in her studies.||She did well in the examination.|
|Emily is good at driving.||Emily drives a car very well.|
“Well” As an Adjective:
“Well” can also be used as an adjective in some situations. “Well” as an adjective describes being in good health or in a good state. If someone asks you, “How are you?” you could respond to it by saying, “I am very well, thank you.” Here in this sentence “Well” is an adjective that means “in good health”.