Adjectives and Adverbs
The difference between adjectives and adverbs
We have seen in the section on adjectives that an adjective qualifies (or describes a noun). That means that an adjective tells us about a thing or a person.
- The tall woman.
- The difficult project.
- The book is interesting.
An adverb tells us how or what way something is done.
An adverb can qualify a verb:
- Jacky works carefully.
- Paul talks loudly.
- Karen sings badly.
Verbs can also be followed by adjectives if the adjective tells us about the thing or the person. This is the case with the verb “to be” and the verb to “seem”.
- The report is interesting.
- The show was boring.
- The report seems interesting.
This can also be the case after the verbs “to taste” ,to “smell” and “to look”. Compare the following:
- The wine tastes good. (How the wine tastes)
- Carla is a wine expert. She tastes wine very carefully. (How Carla tastes the wine)
- The cheese smells bad. (How the cheese smells)
- Kevin smells very badly because he has a cold. (How Kevin is able to smell)
- The design looks good. (How the design is)
- She looked at the report very carefully. (How she looked at the report)
An adverb can also qualify an adjective:
- Peter’s talk was extremely good.
- The book was very boring.
Or an adverb can qualify another adverb.
- Jacky always works extremely carefully.
- David speaks very clearly.
The form of adverbs
Adverbs normally end in -ly:
These are the most important irregular forms:
The adverb hardly also exists, but it has a different meaning.
- He is a hard worker. (adjective) = He does a lot of work.
- He works hard. (adverb) = He does a lot of work.
- He hardly works. (adverb) = He doesn’t do very much work.
It’s also worth remembering that some adjectives end in -ly, for example:
(There are no adverbs for these adjectives)