Deciphering the Difference: Adjective vs. Adverb in English Grammer

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An adjective is a word that describes nouns, such as huge or pretty. Whereas, an adverb is a word that describes verbs, adverbs and adjectives, such as silently or loudly. This is just one of the basic differences between adjectives and adverbs. However, are you willing to learn more about adjectives and adverbs? Here’s a complete guide to make you understand both adjectives and adverbs, a fundamental concept of the English language

What are Adjectives? 

An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or a pronoun. Adjectives are used to provide information about noun’s or pronoun’s qualities, characteristics, or states of being. 

Here are some examples of adjectives: 

👉Quality: big, small, red, blue, happy, sad, loud, quiet.

👉Quantity: many, few, some, all, half, dozen.

👉Characteristic: wooden, metal, furry, smooth, rough, intelligent, friendly.

👉State of being: alive, dead, asleep, awake, empty, full.

Also Read: Abstract Nouns: Definition, Examples and Usage

What are Adverbs? 

An adverb is a word that modifies or describes an adjective, verb, another adverb or entire sentence. Adverbs are mainly used to show the manner in which something happens, to what extent (degree), where (place), and when (time). Additionally, it is used to add more information, flair or details to our writing. Using adverbs can create a strong impression on the reader. 

Here are some basic examples of adverbs listed below: 

👉The bird sang beautifully. (modifies the verb “sang”).

👉The car was extremely fast. (modifies the adjective “fast”).

👉I rarely eat fast food. (modifies the adverb “rarely”).

👉Unfortunately, it rained on the day of the picnic. (modifies the entire sentence).

Also Read: History of English Literature

Adjective vs Adverb Differences

Adverbs are mainly used to modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs and entire sentences. On the other hand, adjectives can only modify nouns and pronouns, for example, “the white board.” The table given below will help you understand the basic difference between adjectives vs adverbs. 

QualityAdjectiveAdverb
What does it modify?Nouns and pronounsquickly ran, extremely fast, rarely eat fast food, unfortunately, it rained
What does it describe? Qualities, characteristics or state of beingManner, place, degree, time
ExamplesBeautiful house, shiny hair, lousy studentsquickly ran, extremely fast, rarely eat fast food, unfortunately it rained

Also Read: Adverbs – Definition, Types, Use, Examples & Exercises

Examples of Adjective vs Adverb

Here are some examples of sentences where adjectives and adverbs are used correctly for your reference:

  • The big dog barked loudly. (an adjective modifies a noun, an adverb modifies a verb).
  • The student studied hard for the test. (an adjective modifies a noun, an adverb modifies a verb).
  • The car was driving fast. (an adjective modifies a noun, an adverb modifies a verb).
  • The bird sang beautifully. (an adjective modifies a noun, an adverb modifies a verb).
  • The child was very happy. (adverb modifies adjective).
  • I rarely eat fast food. (adverb modifies adverb).
  • Unfortunately, it rained on the day of the picnic. (adverb modifies entire sentence).

Adjective vs Adverb: Linking Verbs

Linking verbs causes a lot of confusion when it comes to adjectives vs. adverbs. In case you are not acquainted with linking verbs, they are a particular kind of verb that conveys additional information about the subject rather than demonstrating an action.

Some common linking verbs include:

  • Be
  • Become
  • Feel
  • Grow
  • Look
  • Remain
  • Seem
  • Smell
  • Sound
  • Taste
SentenceAdjective Adverb
The cake tastes yummy. adjectiveModifies the subject “cake”
She looks pretty. adjectiveModifies the subject “she”
The meeting went well. adverbModifies the linking verb “went”
He seemed to be frustrated.adverbModifies the linking “seemed”

Also Read: Want to improve your English? You should definitely read these Best English Grammar Books.

How to Turn Adjectives into Adverbs

As we know, adjectives and adverbs are closely related, some of the root words can used for both. This will help you turn adjectives into adverbs and vice versa. Have a look at the table given below for easy reference: 

For many adjectives, you have to add -ly to the end to make an adverb. 

AdjectiveAdverb
imperfectimperfectly
beautifulbeautifully
hopehopefully

To create an adverb, remove the -y from the adjective’s ending and add -ily.

AdjectiveAdverb
happyhappily
easyeasily
busybusily
luckyluckily

To create an adverb, change the adjective’s final -e to a -y if it ends in -tle or -ble

AdjectiveAdverb
gentlegently
comfortablecomfortably 
cutecutely 
terribleterribly
fake fakely

Must Read: Career in Functional English

FAQs

What are an example of an adjective and an adverb?

Adjectives are terms that characterize nouns, like big and smart. Adverbs are words that characterize verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Examples of these words are rapidly and exceedingly.

Is an adverb an adjective?

It is an adjective if it modifies a noun or a pronoun. It is an adverb if it modifies anything else.

Happy: an adverb or an adjective?

Priya was very, happy. In this instance, the adjective “happy” modifies the correct noun The word priya and exceedingly modifies the adjective happy

Hopefully, this blog was able to help you get a better understanding of Adjectives vs Adverbs. If you want to improve your grammar for English Proficiency Tests such as SAT, IELTS and GMAT, check the courses at Leverage Live.

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