Monday Money: Adjectives vs. Adverbs

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“She doesn’t take me serious!” my friend wailed.

Given that she was rather distraught, I decided not to put my Grammar Police cap on. What I wanted to say was, “You mean, ‘She doesn’t take me seriously.’”

To use an adjective or an adverb—that is the question. And it is this question that I’ll help you answer now!

First, let’s define the terms.

An adjective is a word that describes a noun or a pronoun. They can come before or after the word that they describe. (“She is a pretty girl” vs. “That girl is pretty”)

An adverb is a word that modifies everything but nouns or pronouns—adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. Adverbs answer the questions who, where, and how.

 Adverb modifying an adjective

The book is more interesting than the movie.

 Adverb modifying a verb

The dog ran quickly.

 Adverb modifying another adverb

My mother is almost always right.

Now, here are a few basic rules to keep in mind:

 1. Words that answer the question how are adverbs, and if they can end in “-ly,” they should end in “-ly.”

Incorrect: He walks slow

Correct: He walks slowly.

Incorrect: They performed bad

Correct: They performed badly.

 2. When it comes to the senses of taste, smell, sight, and touch (and feel in the emotional sense), only use an “-ly” ending if it the verb is used actively.

The flowers smell sweet.

She looks happy.

It feels soft.

She feels sad.

The candy tastes sour.

* If the verb is used actively, we would add the “-ly” ending. For example:

He looked angrily at the other man.

 3. When making a comparison, do not drop the “-ly” ending.

Incorrect: She spoke quicker than he did.

 Correct: She spoke more quickly than he did.

 4. Good vs. Well

“Good” is an adjective, while “well” is an adverb.

 You did a good job. (“Good” describes the job.)

You did the job well. (“Well” answers how you did the job.)

 5. When describing health, use “well” instead of “good.”

 I don’t feel well.

I hope you all have a good day!

Post submitted by JoAnna 

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